Always plan your search.
- Select your keywords for searching. Quick tips.
Think about the subject descriptors, keywords and phrases you are going to use, and how you are going to use them to search for information. Subject descriptors and keywords can be broad, to search for more general information, or narrow, for more specific information.
- put common phrases in double quotation marks, for example "climate change"
- keep your search simple by combining a few keywords using a string. For example, if you were researching climate change in Australia, you would enter the terms "climate change" Australia. Alternatively you can use the boolean operator AND to combine your keywords, for example, "climate change" and Australia
- think about alternative or associated keywords you can use. For example, if you were searching for information on "Global warming" think about the concept which refers to the rise on the Earths temperature due to a rise in the levels of "carbon emissions" or more broadly "greenhouse gasses". All of these keywords then become possible keywords for research. Even more broadly, the concept of "climate change", which refers to global or regional changes in climate, becomes a potential keyword for research as does the terminology "carbon footprint" or "fossil fuels"
- be careful not to go too broad with your keywords, as you may spend a lot of time sifting though documents that are not on point or relevant to your research. It is a good idea to start your research for information by using the specific keywords first and if you cant find anything, then use the broader ones
- as your research progresses, you will refine and add to your keyword list and you may have to do some extra searches in the database
- Consider using more than one search engine as they do not all contain the same information and when using a search engine:
check the Help information and
use the Advanced search screens to help you structure and refine your searches
- Look for reputable sites:
.edu (Educational Institutions)
trustworthy .org sites eg. United Nations, National Geographic
use a domain name as a search keyword
You may also find the following Pdf document useful in learning how to search the Internet properly.
Links to some of the better Internet ‘Search Engines’.