How to construct a search? (1)Step 1 – Identify key concepts You should be clear about the key concept(s) you are going to search Key concepts can be: author’s name of a literature work keywords of your research theme country/place of a phenomenon appeared/an incident happened You could also decide what sorts of Library materials you will use. Forexample, are you searching for : some journal articles about your research topic? a book for your self-interest? a local TV programme for presentation use?
Step 2 – Selection of search words Use related words/synonyms to build up a seriesof keywords for searching If you cannot think of the synonyms, you can usethe Thesaurus or dictionaries to help Always combine different keywords to have moresearch resultsStep 3 – Use of the operators to control the search Boolean Operators Wildcards/Truncation ParenthesesHow to construct a search? (2)
AND: searches records that contain bothsearch terms, this narrows down the searche.g. “sales tax” AND “hong kong” (同時出現有關“sales tax” 及 “hong kong” 的結果) OR: finds records in which anyone of searchterms appears, this broadens the searche.g. vat OR “value added tax” (出現有關 vat 或value added tax 的結果) NOT: finds records in which a specific term isexcluded, this narrows down the searche.g. vat NOT “hong kong”(出現只有有關 vat , 但沒有 “hong kong” 的結果)3Step 3(1) - Boolean Operators(AND, OR, NOT)
Wildcards / Truncation: retrieves all variant endingsof that keyword, this broadens the search Most systems regard * as a truncation mark OPAC: * 1-Search* EBSCOhost: * ProQuest: * LexisNexis Academic: !E.g. form* - retrieves all words that start with formsuch as form, formal, formality, formation, formula,formulate, etc.4How to Construct a SearchStep 3(2) - Wildcards / Truncation
Parentheses( ): group words together, and givespriority and order in a search statement, thisbroadens the search.E.g. (sales tax OR vat OR value addedtax OR gst) and hong kong5How to Construct a SearchStep 3(3) – Parentheses
Quotation Marks “ ”: search the words as an exactphrase, this narrows down the search.Try the following examples to see the difference in theresults got in 1-Search :“social movement theory”VSsocial movement theory6How to Construct a SearchStep 3(4) – Quotation Marks
Scenario in constructing a search (1)I would like to do a research paper on the impacton children’s behavior by domestic violence. Howcan I construct a search for this theme?1. Identify keywords from the research theme: domestic violence child behavior impact
2. To form related keywords. E.g.: domestic violence => family violence impact => effect3. To combine keywords and use the Booleanoperators /wildcards/parentheses to form a search “(domestic OR family) violence” AND child*AND impact “(domestic OR family) violence” AND child*AND behaviorScenario in constructing a search (2)
Result page of 1-Search after conducting the searchFurtherrefineyoursearchresults byusingthesefunctions
More Search Tips Make use of the Library Resources (e.g. Thesaurusor dictionaries) to search for keywords Be prepared to narrow / expand your search resultsby using database-specific features / changing yourkeywords “Practice makes perfect”!You will be more skillful in conducting searchesafter you have tried more!