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Identify main ideas

When searching for information for an assignment try to focus on essential concepts. Ask yourself: what are the central ideas? These main ideas are often connected with words like “affect,” “impact” and “influence”. For example: How do wind farms affect house prices.   Watch how!

Choose Keywords

Keywords are the words you use to locate information on your topic.  The catalogue or database will try to match your exact keywords, not your intentions, thoughts or ideas. There are often multiple ways to talk about a concept, so think about the different words that may be used to describe your main ideas. In addition to related words (Aboriginal / Indigenous), think about alternate spellings (colonize / colonise) and word forms (legislate / legislation).   Watch how!

Use Keywords in a Search

Most library search tools need help understanding what you want to find.  Search with keywords more effectively with these tips:

  • Use AND to combine two different ideas (education AND poverty). Combining your main keywords with AND will help you focus and narrow your search.
  • Use OR when you want to include related keywords, word forms or synonyms in your search (education OR schooling OR instruction).
  • Use quotation marks to search for a “multi-word phrase” or a title (“global warming” / “the comedy of errors”)
      Watch how!