1. Define key concepts:
Use dictionaries, online encyclopedias, textbooks, thesauri, some databases have a thesaurus or list of subject terms.
2. Use alternative words:
Eg. synonyms Heart attack, cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction
Broader/ narrower terms: Eg Linguistics grammar/ word/ sentence/ phrase
3. Search for variants of words, this may assist with UK/ US spellings:
Truncation symbols (usually *)
For example: parent* usually locates parent, parents, parental, parenthood etc.
Wildcard (usually ?) For example wom?n locates woman, women, women etc.
4. Sometimes searching for words in speech marks as a phrase eg. “French culture” may help.
5. Search logic: Use AND, OR or NOT to construct a search
Leopards AND tigers narrows the search to records containing both terms.
Leopards OR tigers broadens the search to records containing either term.
Leopards NOT tigers excludes records containing the term tigers.
6. Use any search history function on the database to edit or rerun your search or combine searches you have done.
7. Do it all again…