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Criminology: Searching effectively

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On this page you will find tips and strategies for building an effective search strategy for the databases.

Search strategy helpsheet

Use this sheet to put together a search strategy you can use in the databases.

Search strategy tips

Tip 1: Think of your keywords and use AND to link them

It is important that you don't just search for a whole sentence or question and instead think carefully about what are your most important keywords

e.g. How has gentrification affected local communities in London?

Your keywords would be gentrification AND local communities AND London

Tip 2: Come up with alternate keywords (synonyms) and connect with OR

The database will just search for the keywords you enter into the search box, therefore you need to think about all the different ways something might be described 

e.g. gentrification may also be described as "urban renewal" OR "urban development"

Tip 3: Use quotation marks when searching for phrases

In order to keep two or more words together as a phrase, enclose them in quotation marks

e.g. "local communities" will look for the phrase "local communities" rather than individual words, "local" and "communities".

Tip 4: Use Truncation for words that start the same but may have different endings

A number of databases allow you to use the asterisk symbol * to save you time

e.g.  gentrif* will find gentrification, gentrifier, gentrify, gentrifying etc.

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