Selecting the right search terms

When you’re doing a literature search, you won’t always have a handy reading list ready to go. Sometimes, all you’ll have is your semester paper topic, and you’ll need to find the relevant literature yourself. If you are searching for literature on a specific topic, knowing where to find the right literature is essential, but equally crucial is knowing how to do it. One big key to success is picking the right search terms.

Let’s say your seminar paper is about Online Marketing Strategies. Take a moment to think of three terms that would fit this topic, and then compare them with the suggestions we have here.

Here are some ideas to help you find alternative search terms:

  • Synonyms: tourism, travel industry, vacation industry, visitor industry, tourist trade, tourist traffic
  • Acronyms: TQM, Total Quality Management
  • Singular / plural: woman, women
  • Different spellings: organization, organisation
  • Technical terminology / colloquial language: CPI, rate of price increases, inflation
  • Regional differences: soccer, football

Create your own list of alternative search terms for the topic we mentioned, and then take a look at the sample solution.

Once you have your search terms, you can start planning your search strategy.