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Research Guides

MIE315: Design for the Environment

Concept mapping

MIE315 Concept Mapping (video) 

by former MIE315 Instructor Jeff Harris

Identifying your search terms

Identify key concepts of your research problem and then brainstorm about related terms by thinking of:

  • Synonyms or related terms (broader, narrower) (e.g. scientific and common name)
  • Plural/singular forms (woman or women, region or regions)
  • Spelling variations (aluminum or aluminium)
  • Acronyms (MRI or magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Variations of a root word by using the truncation symbol - the asterisk (manag* = manager, managing, managed, management)

For example, you might want to try keywords, or combinations of keywords, such as:

  • mechanical engineering, machine design 
  • industrial engineering industrial design
  •  human engineering,  human factors, anthropometry​, human mechanics,  biomechanics
  •  fluid mechanics, applied mechanics, automobiles - design and construction, machine design - statistical methods
  • strains and stresses

Combine your search terms using Boolean Operators

Use Booleans Operators (AND, OR, NOT, NEAR) to combine terms. 

  • Using AND will narrow your search to results that include those terms. 
  • Using OR will broaden your search to include similar terms. 
  • Using NOT will exclude a term from your search. 

You may want to combine these keywords with each other and other terms such as:

  • mechanical engineering NOT automobiles
  • machine design AND statistical methods
  • industrial design OR industrial engineering AND health aspects

Track your search strategies

Keep track of the search terms that you use and how you use the Boolean Operators to combine them. It can help you keep track of what does and doesn't work.