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International Social Work year 2 - information skills: 2A Search terms

Determine search terms with other resources

Search terms

You have now formulated a search query and perhaps also a number of sub-questions. Before you start searching for an answer to your query, you need to come up with the search terms that you will use in your search.

In order to achieve a good result, we recommend that you divide your search query and/or sub-question into a number of elements. For each element, you devise one or more search terms.

Our example about social media would then look like this:

What interventions are used to increase the social networks of troubled families?

This search query can be divided into three elements:

- Interventions
- Social networks
- Troubled families

In order to define your search terms, you can use dictionaries, lists of keywords from the library catalogue and the Internet, among others.

You can also consider variants of your search terms, such as synonyms, single or plural forms, spelling variants, abbreviations or written out in full, related terms, and broader (more general) and narrower (more specific) terms.