How to determine a search query
It is important to determine your search query thoughtfully. This increases the chance that you will find the right information.
Based on your problem you construct:
- just one search query, or
- a search question (main question) that is subdivided into sub questions.
Example about social media
The main question is, for example:
What are the effects of the use of social media in higher education on the learning behavior of students?
The sub questions:
- Is this effect the same for boys and girls?
- Is this effect internationally comparable?
- Are there different effects per social medium?
Specify your search query as much as possible, here you can use the 5 W's:
Open and closed questions
A search query can be open or closed. In most cases you can only answer a closed question with yes/no/maybe. Open questions usually provide concrete, factual information.
Example of a closed question:
Do students use social media in education?
Possible answers: yes/no/maybe/don't know
Example of an open question:
Which social media are used by students in education?
Possible answers: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on...
Try to formulate a main question that consists of three elements. These are usually the target group, subject and process. In the example about social media these are students, social media and learning behaviour.