Review your assignment, and ask yourself:
... and more! This list of questions can be lengthy - just remember to make sure you understand all the aspects of your assignment before starting.
Developing Search Terms includes considering the following areas:
|Keywords||Normally free-text terms/phrases that you generate on your own without using database-driven terms|
|Subject Headings||Terms/phrases that databases use to create standardized groupings for similar research|
Similar to subject headings, databases will often tell you if a term now has a preferred or alternative term/phrase you should be using.
e.g. "post-traumatic stress disorder" ---> "stress disorder, post-traumatic"
It is best to plan for all of the synonyms you can think of before you start searching.
e.g. homeless ---> "without a home" OR "no fixed address" OR roofless
Synonyms can also include historical words used for your keywords or phrases that might still come up in your results.
e.g. "acceptance and commitment therapy" ---> "comprehensive distancing"
|Acronyms||e.g. "cognitive behavioural therapy" ---> CBT|
|Variant Spellings||e.g. behavioral vs. behavioural|
Thesauri will be the best way to find many of the above. Most databases contain a unique thesaurus that applies to how they have grouped information.
Command Line Searching
Along with Boolean searching you must pay attention to using brackets to separate the different parts of your search.
e.g. ("cognitive behavioural therapy" OR CBT) AND (anxiet* OR depress*) AND (youth OR teen* OR adolescent*)
Using truncation in your search can help to bring back alternative endings to your search term.
To truncate a word you use the root of the word - adding a * at the end
e.g. child* = child, children, childhood
Phrase searching entails using quotation marks around any piece of your search where more than one word needs to stay together.
e.g. "social work", "bipolar disorder"
NOTE - don't force phrases, if they aren't common phrases in the literature than resources may not be found
e.g. "drug intervention" could actually be "X drug was used as the intervention to Y"