Consider your search terms
Selecting your terms
Often, the title will include words like discuss, assess and
importance which are generic (could apply to any subject) and can
often be omitted from your search. Don't just use the words from
the title of your assignment!
Consider the terms you could use to describe your topic. It's a
good idea to think of several alternative terms or synonyms to use
in the search. You can then try out different terms in the
databases you are searching eg:
|(human) sex differences
||boys or girls
||electronic mail /e-mail
|male or female?
||social networking? Facebook,
Expressing your terms
You can use various techniques to alter the way your search
terms are spelt or expressed. Think about phrase searching, alternative spellings and word endings.
|Ensures that the words are only retrieved if they are adjacent
to each other.
Finds counselling behaviour and counseling behavior
Finds woman and women
Phrase searching In some databases,
such as Academic OneFile, the phrase needs to be enclosed in
quotation marks as above. Without this, results will be retrieved
where both terms are present, but not adjacent to each other. Other
databases (eg: all those hosted by EBSCO) automatically perform a
phrase search or there may be a phrase search option (eg:
Alternative spellings can be included
in the search by the use of either (*) asterisks or (?) question
marks. Most of the databases accessed from the University will
accept either (*) or (?) to stand for missing letters in the middle
Word endings (truncation). You can
use * (asterisk), or sometimes ? (question mark) at the end of
the stem of the word to stand for various word endings.
Go to Step Three
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