A search strategy is a well thought out plan about how to search for the information you need for your assessment. Creating a plan will save you time and help you do effective searches. Keeping a record of your searches can also be useful.
To develop a search strategy you will need to:
There are a number of techniques you can use while searching to get better and more relevant results.
Basic search usually involves one search box, with a few options about searching a specific collection or field. This is great for general searching.
An advanced search is useful when you have multiple keywords or complex search queries. Advanced search usually involves several different boxes for your different keywords, built-in search operators, and more options for field searching and limiters.
Most databases will have a link to Advanced Search next to their Basic search option. Advanced Search in Google Scholar is accessible from the menu.
Use these with your keywords to refine your searches and specify exactly what you want to find. These are most useful in journal databases and Primo Search.
|Use AND to retrieve results that contain both of your search terms.||taxation AND financial reporting|
|Use OR to retrieve results that contain any or all of your search terms.||inflation OR growth|
|Using NOT to exclude irrelevant results.||diversity NOT cultural|
|Group terms or equivalent keywords with parentheses to create complex searches.||(tax OR taxation) AND financial reporting|
|Use quotation marks to search for a phrase||
|Search for terms with different word endings using an asterisk.||financ* = finance, financed, financing, financial|
|A question mark can be used to replace a single letter within a word.||
organi?ation = organization or organisation
behavio?r = behaviour or behavior
Field searching and limiters
Most databases will allow you to specify which field you want to search. Common fields include author, title, dates, and subject headings/topic, and these are usually available in both basic and advanced search.
Once you've searched, you can also limit or refine your results by some of these fields. This is extremely useful if you want all of your articles to have been published within a certain date range, or for them all to be peer-reviewed. Look for these in the menus beside your search results.
To start searching, it can be useful to begin with an encyclopaedia, dictionary or handbook to get an overview of your topic, or an explanation of words or concepts that are unfamiliar.
Try combining some of your keywords using some common search tips.
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