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Monash College : Research

A guide to library resources and services for Monash College staff and students.



Creating a Search Strategy

Boolean searching uses AND or OR to narrow or broaden your search results. The image below provides steps on how to use Boolean searching. Select the image to read an enlarged version.

Boolean searching – when to 'AND' or ‘OR’ in your search strategy. Are you connecting two separate concepts or ideas? Yes: I need to ensure that any article I find has BOTH concepts. (Venn diagram of A & B with overlapping section highlighted.) AND  International AND Management Use AND to combine two or more concepts. This will endure that you are only pulling articles where all terms are present. This will narrow your search results. No: I have two terms that are similar and pertain to the same concept. I don’t care if an article has one or both. (Venn diagram of A & B with all circles highlighted.) Global OR International Use OR to combine two or more like terms for the same concept. This will ensure that you are pulling any article that contains one of your terms. This will BROADEN your search. Truncation Truncation: (8) typically an asterisk added to a word stem to represent additional characters. Example: manage* = manage, manager, managers, management. You can also use this symbol o represent different spellings. Example: organi*ation = organisation and organization.    Phrase Use quotation marks to ensure that a key term with multiple words is searched in the correct order and as one term. Example: “global economy” or “World Trade Organisation”.































Brainstorming Key Terms

Prior to starting your research it is important to brainstorm. This is where you think of synonyms, key words, and other related terms that will help you with your research.

Select the Brainstorming key terms. Social media cloud with raindrops of Facebook, Instagram, Social network and Twitter. Hotspot: Social media cloud Key terms When breaking down your research question, you need to identify your key terms or concepts. (For this example, Social Media is our key term.) Hotspot: Facebook Related terms Part of the brainstorming process is to think of other words or terms that are related to your key words. These will be terms you can use to broaden your search (using the OR connector when you are in the databases). In this instance, the term Facebook is a social media platform. Articles may discuss this platform in particular - without mentioning social media - and you would miss these if you did not include the related term in your search.  Hotspot: Social network Synonyms Synonyms are words or phrases that have the same or similar meaning. It is helpful to identify these terms before starting your search in the database. This broadens the search and ensures that you do not miss resources because they use slightly different words or terminology. Here we would use Social Media OR Social Network as synonyms.  buttons in the word cloud below to find out more.