Have you ever tried to hold a conversation with
someone about a topic they know a lot about, but which you know nothing?
You donít understand what they are saying. The same results occur when
you try to search for information without identifying the search terms
which describe the topic you are researching.
The key to finding the information you need is to read background
information and talk to experts. This information will contain words and
phrases which describe your topic. To prepare for research, you must
Collect words and phrases which describe your topic
Think of other synonyms or ways to describe what you are looking
Group search terms into categories of:
more important and less important terms
specific and broader terms
terms you want to use first and terms for later
Remember to consult with the librarians at the Information Desk. We
have experience working with search terms used by the various research
tools and can make suggestions.
You are now ready to begin looking up your search terms in research
tools. You can choose to
search for your terms in any part of a source record (title of the
source or abstract summary of the source), which is called free text
see if your search term is considered an official descriptor or
search heading by the research tool, which is called controlled
Controlled Vocabulary searching