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Stage 2: Developing the Search: Step 1: What to Search

Identifying What to Search

For your search, the keywords you choose and how you arrange those keywords in the databases will impact how comprehensive and executable your search will be.

Your goals in this step are to:

  • Identify keywords for your search
  • Make decisions regarding the use of syntax: Combining keywords using boolean operators; using advanced techniques (e.g., proximity operators, truncation, wildcards); and improving techniques for search efficiency (e.g., text mining)
  • Choose a search filter (optional)

To help organize the list of keywords for your review, feel free to use the search strategy worksheet in the additional resources section. This worksheet will assist with identifying the research question, relevant concepts, and useful synonyms.