Research skills

Search strategies

Alternative keywords

You should identify other keywords you could use to ensure you find all the information on your topic. This allows for differences of spelling, word choice and the use of acronyms or abbreviations.

  • Having alternative or broader keywords can help you find a wider range of information
  • Having a number of more specific, narrower keywords can help focus your search and ensure you don’t find too much information.

Example

Keyword: University

The range of terms you could identify include:

Alternatives: have a very similar meaning to your original keyword

       Uni, Universities, Higher Education

Broader terms: have a general link to your keyword

       Education, Learning

Narrower terms: have a more specific link to your keyword

       Degree, Undergraduate, Postgraduate


Why not try matching the broader/narrower or alternative terms in the keywords quiz (see below)?