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Literature searching: search tips


Before you start your literature search it is a good idea to spend five minutes thinking about your subject:

  • what are the key words defining your topic?
  • are there any alternative words you should use to ensure you don't miss something relevant?
  • what words would the researchers in your field use?

Find out more in the Planning your search section of our Searching databases guide.

How to search...

When searching your subject databases you will need to use some specific search techniques to ensure that you find all the relevant references. These include:

  • using the search operators (AND, OR) to combine your search words
  • using brackets to nest alternative words in your search statement
  • using truncation symbols and wildcards to find alternative word endings and spellings.

Find out more in the Search techniques section of our Searching databases guide.