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Library research skills

Plan your search

Taking the time to plan your search will help you search more effectively and find better results. Your search strategy might change as you find more information and incorporate new keywords, but it’s always useful to start with a solid plan.

Click through the slides in the activity below to learn more:

More help:

Identify key concepts and keywords

Identify your key concepts

Look at your question and try to identify the main ideas. For example:

'Argue to which degree increased working hours impacts on family life'

You do not need to search for task words. These tell you what to do. For example: How, Why, Explain...

Identify any synonyms or similar concepts

Are there any alternative terms for your keywords? This is important as not everyone will refer to concepts in the same way. For example:

Working hours: employment, job, shift work, career, hours of work...

Family: parents, working parents, sole parent, single parent...

Mindmaps and tables

Using a table or mindmap to write down ideas can help you organise and plan your search.

Example Mind Map, Copyright University of South Australia

Created using other free programs are available online including Text2MindMap

More help: