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Finance

Planning your search

Before you begin looking for resources for your assignment or research, invest some time planning your search strategy. Spending a small amount of time now will save you time and frustration later.

Summarise your question or topic

This sounds obvious, but to begin searching you should be clear about the topic of your research or assignment.

If this is for an assessment, ensure you review your assessment instructions. You may already have received a topic, a statement or clues to guide your search.

So write down your summary and check that it's clear and focused.

Identify the keywords

Now highlight, underline or circle the keywords or main concepts in your summary. These words can help you build your search strategy and set parameters.

Think of similar search words for each concept

These can be synonyms, related words, abbreviations, acronyms and other words that are specific to your topic.

To discover synonyms, refer to a thesaurus (such as https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus) and see what other words could be used.

Be clever

Now you have a strong basis for your search, it doesn't stop there.

Use Advanced Search to improve your search strategy. Create clever search strings using symbols and special characters to get better search results! More details about these advanced search techniques are in the section below.

Document your search

This will help you plan your search properly and remember the techniques.

Download the planner below and follow the steps to create your own search strategy.
 

Search Planner (DOC, 1MB)

Advanced Search Techniques

Create clever searches by adding your key words together to get more relevant results.

Phrase searching narrows a search to show results that contain an exact phrase e.g. "corporate finance"

To conduct a phrase search, add double quote marks around two or more words you want to search for.

For example: searching for "Corporate Finance" will only return records that contain this exact term. The search will not return results where the word 'Corporate' or 'Finance' appear alone.

Truncation searching broadens a search to show results that include words with variation.

To conduct a truncation search, use an asterix character * to signify where the variation should exist.

Use this when you want to show results that include words with different endings. For example, searching for Financ* will return records that contain any of these words:  'Finance', 'Financial', 'Financier' etc.

Truncation can also be useful when spelling variations exist. For example, searching for organi*ation will return records that contain either of these words:  'organisation', 'organization'.

Truncation searching is sometimes referred to as wildcard searching or stemming.

Boolean searching is a type of search that allows users to combine keywords with operators (such as AND, OR, NOT) to produce more relevant results

Using the word AND between two search terms narrows a search to show results containing both terms.

Conversely, using the word OR between two terms broadens a search to show results containing either term.

Using NOT will narrow your search by excluding certain results from your search, however as the video on the next tab shows it should be used with care as this technique can remove relevant results.
 

Video: What are boolean operators (1:36)

For further search tips have a look at this video.