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Research question: Search Terms

Part of the Information Literacy Portal

Infoclip - Search terms or Keywords

Bron: HanzeMediatheek Hanzehogeschool Groningen


Introduction search terms

To find relevant literature in a catalogue or database you need search terms.

Once you have drafted the main topics and subtopics, you need to translate them into search terms. Take your time with this. The better the search terms fit in with your search question, the better and quicker you will achieve the required results when searching.

  • What are the most important terms for the topic and any subtopics?
  • Come up with synonyms or search for these using a dictionary or thesaurus.
  • Remember that a term can be written in different ways.
  • Remember to search both in the singular and plural.
  • Which abbreviations or acronyms are usually linked to this topic?
  • Are there broader and narrower terms to define your topic?
  • Remember to also use compounded search terms.
  • What are the terms for the topic in another language?

You can use (online) encyclopedias, dictionaries and guides within this context.
You may come across other terms during your search that better describe what you are looking for. If this is the case, change your search terms accordingly.

Searching is a cyclic process. You may, therefore, (often) have to revise / rethink your search plan.

Logbooks desk research

Before you start searching it is useful to create a Word document in which you note down everything concerning your literature search and in which you record which decisions you have made.This is later useful to knowing which choices you have made and why. Moreover, it is a justification for your search strategy. 

Download and fill in yourself

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