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