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Research Support Guide for Law Postgraduate Students and Academic Staff

Research support assistance and useful library resources for Postgraduate students and Academic Staff

After thinking about the topic area you are planning to search and deciding what keywords may be useful, it is also a good idea to find alternative search words.

Alternative search words can be found by:

  • Broadening your search results in order to try to find alternative search words for each key concept and idea. 
  • Using an online thesaurus or, alternatively, browse the subject headings list of the database you are searching.
  • Doing a Google definition search (e.g. enter in the Google search box define body language or define communication)

  Synonyms – “like” words

Firstly try using the most obvious search words. Then try to think of synonyms or “like” words that might also be used e.g.

 Children – try also child, infants, toddlers, pre-school or “early years”

 Change – try also transitions, development, trends, emerging, shakeup, reform, modification, innovation, progress, etc.

  Antonyms – “opposite” words

Occasionally you will find useful information by using search words that have opposite meanings for eg:

  • safety might be found under risk, hazard, danger, etc.
  • business failures might be found under success in business


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