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"The identification of the key words of a research study is the first essential step in identifying relevant literature. Unless this is done in a careful, logical way, you will probably fail to identify some of the key areas of literature"
The first step in planning your search strategy is to identify key terms. It is important to consider the keywords related to your search topic and consequently establish appropriate terms. Rather than entering a whole assignment title, you need to pick out the important words needed to describe your topic. The database will only look for what you type in, so for each keyword, you need to apply a few search tips.
Synonyms and related terms
When identifying key terms, you need to consider any synonyms (a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language). Dictionaries and Thesauruses can help you identify useful synonyms, and the University of Hull subscribes to The Oxford English Dictionary which is available online.
Formal and informal terminology
When searching it is important to consider formal and technical terminology alongside informal terms. Academic papers and articles may refer to either.
Acronyms and abbreviations
You should always consider acronyms and abbreviations for different words, phrases and even organisations when searching as authors may use either in their titles and articles.
American spelling and terminology
It is important to consider American spellings and terminologies in a lot of literature searches. The next page will introduce search operators to help you search for both English and American spellings in your search.
Word endings and plurals
When searching you should consider alternative word endings and plurals. The next page will introduce search operators to help you include these in your search.