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Research skills tutorial

Your guide to success!

2.1 Understanding a search strategy

The key to successful research is having a clear idea of what you want to find.

When doing an assignment, the topic or research question will usually be given to you. You need to analyse the topic carefully to determine what you need to do.

An effective search strategy helps you define your topic and work out what information you need to find.

Before you start searching you need to:

  • analyse your topic
  • brainstorm your topic and identify alternative words to search
  • combine your keywords with search boosters (e.g. boolean operators, truncation or brackets) to create a search


Your search strategy may change during the research process, and you may find new keywords along the way.  This is normal, so be flexible and experiment with different search strategies.


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