Before you start searching for information take some time to plan. It can help you find information faster:
1. Understand your topic and task
2. Identify main research concepts and alternative terms
3. Connect research concepts to form a search strategy
The video below shows the full process.
Use reference books to define terms, or find topic overviews, to become more familiar and locate better resources for your assessments.
Search the library collection for dictionaries, encyclopedias or handbooks in your topic area
You must have a broad understanding of your topic, before you can search for information or write your assignment. Consider:
What do you need to do?
What do you know? Or need to explore further?
Do you need to define any terms?
What types of evidence do you need?
Does information need to be current?
Do any theories apply to your topic?
Example question: What is the impact of package graphic designs on consumer choice?
The main concepts in your question form the foundation of your search:
To cover the range of terminology used in the literature, you must also identify any synonyms or similar keywords for each concept:
Once you have your list of terms for each concept, you can combine them to create a search strategy.
First simplify your search. Use truncation, wildcards and phrases to cover word variations:
finds unlimited characters after the symbol
must be used at the end of a word/word stem
finds package, packaging etc...
finds zero or one character to replace ths symbol
can be used anywhere in a word
finds behaviour, behavior
keeps two or more words together in the entered order
NOTE: Symbols may vary view the 'how to save time searching...' guide below for information on specific databases
Now connect your remaining terms using AND, OR.
Use OR to connect different terms within the same concept
Use AND to connect each concept.
"graphic design" AND ("consumer choice" OR "consumer behavio?r") AND packag*
Need more info? Check out our How to guides below.
The Library Collection can be a good place to start. Use the Collection to search across much of the material in the Library's collection.
Depending on what you need to find, and how comprehensive you need to be in your search, you may also need to use specialised databases.