The determination of search terms is time-consuming, but very important.
The search terms you use largely define the amount and quality of your search results.
To find the right search terms you can start by looking in your project manual. Which words stick out in your assignment?
Also you can brainstorm with your project group what information might be important for your assignment and make a mind map*.
It's important to track your search process (to prevent you from searching the same things multiple times and thus save time!) so document your search terms. (For instance put it in a simple Word document)
Also check online dictionaries for synonyms to get more search results. (Like store vs shop) Write these below the original words in your Word document. This will help you when you start to search using booleon operators like OR and AND. (more information about search tactics can be found in the video at 'search queries - how to search' from the menu on the left).
You can also specify your search using broader terms (BT), narrower terms (NT) or related terms (RT). (These can be found in a thesaurus, see below) A general search term will show more search results, but it might make it harder for you to find what you need. (For instance BT: Social media, RT: social network, NT: instagram)
Also check the difference in spelling (American English vs British English) like organization vs organisation or consumer behavior vs consumer behaviour, abbreviations like b2b vs business to business, and plural or singular like media vs medium.
Find new search terms in your search results. For instance Wikipedia is a great place to find search terms and sources about your topic! (Note that you can't cite Wikipedia as a source, but it can lead you to a goldmine of search terms and sources)
You can also organise and sort your search terms using a mind map.
* A mind map is a way to help you gather and structure information. In a mind map you write down a central topic and then add related elements around it and connect further details, or draw pictures, to each element. It makes it easier for your brain to remember, and to generate new ideas or more details linked to each element. Like in-depth search terms or questions that pop up. You can create a mind map on a piece of paper or use a software tool and use words, images and/or specific colours to connect items together.
Via this link you can find several royalty free graphics and examples of mind maps.
Note: Always document the sources you used, even if they appear to be unusable afterwards.
The process of how you got to your results is also very important. And giving credits to, or research the sources you used is very important. You can use RefWorks or a simple Word document, or use OneNote so you can share it with your Project Group. More information about this can be found in 'how to cite' in the menu on the left.
This video below gives you an explanation on how to get different search terms or key words (these words can both be used). The topic might be different but you’ll definitely get the idea.
How to find (more) search terms? Below you'll find a few links to dictionaries and thesaurus that can help you:
Thesaurus / synonyms
In a thesaurus you will find a list of synonyms and related terms.
A handy tool to visualise and keep track of your search for information!
Make a log with the search terms you used. It will help you to easily create search strings as well. (For more info on how to create search strings have a look at search queries - how to search)
You can write down important elements for your assignment at the top of each column.
Below each key element you can write down synonyms, different spelling, related terms, broader terms and narrower terms of each element. (You can get these from your mind map)
When you have your log with search terms you can now create different search strings. Use ‘OR’ in between words from the same element column and use ‘AND’ when using a search term from a different element column.