2.1 How to search effectively
Bringing efficiency in searching
Step 1: How to Generate Keywords
Topic: Consent and Privacy Policies
Here is the example to generate keywords in a systematic process.
Steps involved in generating keywords
- Create a Research Topic
- List Your (Key Concepts)/(Key Search words) based on the research topics
- Now, try to list at least 1 (related keywords)/(related search words) for each of your key concepts. These might be synonyms, broader terms, more specific terms, etc.
Step 2: How to Use Your Keywords
Once we have generated keywords, the other task is to use these keywords. How to do that.
Very simple — by using Boolean operators. This will help to focus a search, particularly when your topic contains multiple search terms. And connect various pieces of information to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Boolean operators form the basis of mathematical sets and database logic.
- They connect your search words together to either narrow or broaden your set of results.
- The three basic boolean operators are: AND, OR, and NOT.
The combined search words would look like this:
(privacy OR secrecy OR consent) AND (policies OR contracts OR agreement) AND (Data protection OR safety OR online browsing )
Step 3: How to use search tricks
Words can have different endings or could be spelt differently. In this situation, how can we accommodate these different words while searching?
- Root words that have multiple endings. Example: sun = suns, sunshine, sunny, sunlight
- Words that are spelt differently, but mean the same thing. Example: color, colour
- Truncation/wildcard symbols vary by database.
Phrases (Phrase searching “………..”)
- Different databases interpret searches differently. A common variation is how databases recognize phrases.
- Some assume that words typed next to each other should be searched as phrases.
- Others automatically put a Boolean AND between your search terms, requiring that all the words be present, but not necessarily adjacent to each other.
- These searches can retrieve very different results.
Double quotation marks help you to search for common phrases and will make your results more relevant.
E.g. “physical activity” will find results with the words physical activity together as a phrase
Adapt your search and keep trying
Searching for information is a process and you won’t always get it right the first time. Improve your results by changing your search and trying again until you’re happy with what you have found.
References and Links:
- This list of words has been generated using — https://webapps.library.uow.edu.au/keywords/ or https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/libraries/key/nlogon