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FHS-KE | Online Searching Techniques for Best Results: Getting Started

Getting Started

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Regardless of the search tool being used, the development of an effective search strategy is essential if you hope to obtain satisfactory results. A simplified, generic search strategy might consist of the following steps: 

  • Formulate the research question and its scope 
  • Identify the important concepts within the question 
  • Identify search terms to describe those concepts 
  • Consider synonyms and variations of those terms 
  • Prepare your search logic 

Search Techniques

There are various ways to combine search terms depending on the search engine / database in use using a number of search techniques. These are:

  • Boolean logic i.e. Combining Boolean operators
  • Truncation
  • Exact phrase searching
  • Field specification
  • Thesaurus/Controlled Vocabulary e.g MeSH

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