A word on search strategy
It can be helpful to write down your research question and identify the important words that define your topic before searching. For example:
‘I am interested in the recycling of waste water in cities.’
The important terms to include for this topic would be: recycling, waste water, cities.
The next step is to compile a list of synonyms or alternative terms. This will ensure that you will have a comprehensive search for relevant literature.
Consider variations such as:
- Synonyms or alternative terms – e.g., climate change, global warming.
- Acronyms / abbreviations – e.g., DFT, density functional theory
- Alternative Spellings – e.g., aluminium, aluminum
- Plurals / alternative endings – e.g., environment, environmental
For our research topic here is the start of a list of synonyms and alternative terms.
Further search tips
● You can search for a specific phrase by placing it in quotations marks – e.g., “global warming”
● Truncating a term by using the asterisk at the end of the term will allow you to retrieve results with alternative endings
e.g., environment* finds environments, environmentalist, environmentalism.
Now its your turn to develop a list of synonyms and alternative terms for your own research topic.
You might like to download this worksheet to assist you.
- Write down your research topic and identify your topic keywords.
- Write some alternative search terms (synonyms)