Skip to Main Content

Research Guides

WRR300: Strategic Writing in Business and the Professions

Tips for building your search

Choosing your Search Terms

Think of the language that will be the most effective for your search and keep track of search terms that produce the best results. Ask yourself: 

  • Will your topic be discussed in the news using scholarly terms or would other terminology be more effective?
  • Has the terminology changed over time or based on location? 


Designing your Search Strategies

Some databases allow you to enter search terms on separate lines (e.g., enter a keyword the top line and researcher or activist's last name below, so as to articulate your search request)

Use Boolean Operators allow you to widen or narrow the search for your keywords and target your research topic:

Quotations marks (search for specific phrases or names)

  • "social media""freedom of speech""Greta Thunberg" 

  • "racial bias" OR racism 

  • University OR College   

Asterisk * (widen your search results, in certain databases) 

  • institut* = institutions, institution's, institutitional

AND (narrows your search)

  • disability AND institut*

  • "video games"  AND violence

OR (widens your search)

  • autism OR Aspergers 

  • snapchat OR instagram OR "social media"