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Wound care: Plan your search

Develop a search strategy

Searching for literature or information for your assignments can be understood as an iterative process. It involves searching, refining your results, and then searching again.

You might start with an initial search to gather some background information and gain a better understanding of the topic. This is an important first step, as it will help you become familiar with terminology and authors writing in the field. At this stage you may refer to textbooks and other tertiary resources. Your lecturer may also supply some reading material or articles on the topic; these are always a good place to start!

Once you have a sufficient understanding of your topic and have identified some search terms, you can develop a search strategy.


What is a search strategy?


A search strategy helps you break down your research question or essay topic into key concepts.

It involves thinking about possible search terms to use and applying search tips (see below), and also deciding where the best places are to search on your chosen topic (i.e. databases, Google scholar, grey literature, etc.).


Use a concept grid


Using a Concept grid (or similar) will help you to develop a search strategy. Here's an example:

Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3  Concept 4

"wound care" OR

"wound healing" OR

"wound management"

diabetic foot    

Watch the video below to get a sense of the iterative search process (3:10 mins).

Picking your topic is research! by NCSU Libraries / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US

Search tips