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How to determine search terms

Search terms are the words that you use in search engines like Kaluga. This can be just one word, but more often nowadays it will be a combination of words.

Tip: choose broad search terms

The determination of search terms is a time-consuming thing but very important. The search terms that you use largely define the amount and quality of your search results.

Possible search terms with the example What are the effects of the use of social media in higher education on the learning behavior of students? are: social media, higher education, learning behaviour, students.

Elaborate search terms

Next specify, for example, by using

  •  synonyms
  •  plural/singular
  •  related terms
  •  translations
Single and plural social medium or social media
Synonyms social sites
Related terms with almost the same meaning social networks
Exact word combination "laughing out loud"
Abbreviation LOL
Different spelling British English and American English internet organisation or internet organization
Umbrella term media
Narrower term Instagram
Term in another language Les media sociaux (French)

Expand the search term collection

  • Use the words from the question, assignment or case
  • Use dictionaries and search for synonyms
  • Read general texts about the subject and search for professional terms/jargon
  • Search for related terms, for example in a thesaurus (glossary)
  • Use mind mapping to brainstorm
  • View the reference list from a useful source
  • Look in reference lists for an author name that often occurs. Maybe that person is a specialist. Use the name as a search term.
  • Wikipedia can be used for both synonyms, professional terms as reference lists

Organise search terms

Finally, you can organise and sort the search terms by using a mind map.

Last updated on 2 August 2019.