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Constructing Search Statements: A Basic Guide

How to construct simple statements for effective searches

Search Strategy

Step 1  

State your topic as a question using your own words.

Step 2  

Identify concepts and keywords in your question.  Relevant concepts and keywords may be found in your lecture notes, textbooks and recommended reading lists.  Dictionaries and encyclopaedias may also prove useful.

Step 3  

Write down the concepts in separate columns on the Search Planning Sheet (see separate tab).  For each concept, list down its keywords or synonyms.

Step 4  

Construct a search statement by combining your keywords using the Boolean Operators AND, NOT, and OR. Make use of functions such as truncation, nesting (parentheses) and phrase searching.

Keep in mind that AND, NOT and phrase searching limit and focus your search while OR and truncation expand your search.