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2.3.1 Keyword or subject searching?

Identify and obtain  information
2.1 Define your search terms
2.2 An example search strategy
2.3 Search strategies
  * 2.3.1 Keyword or subject searching?
  2.3.2 Boolean operators
  2.3.3 Mathematical operators
  2.3.4 Nesting
  2.3.5 Phrase searching
  2.3.6 Truncation and wildcards
2.3.7 Prepare a search strategy
2.4 Select an appropriate tool
2.5 Keep up to date
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Keyword searching

A keyword search is a good starting point as it finds items containing the terms you have entered.

View a demonstration of keyword searchingView the following video on keyword searching.

Subject searching

Subject terms, also called subject headings, descriptors and index terms are added to enable more precise searching.

Subject searching helps you find relevant information regardless of the varying terminology used by different authors. Once you have identified some appropriate subjects, start using subject searches.

For example:

Book jacket image for: 
Hospitality strategic management: concepts and casesThe subject terms assigned to this item are:

  • Hospitality industry - Management
  • Strategic planning
  • The subject terms are chosen from a list of set terms called a thesaurus or subject index.

    Note: Different search tools use different subject terms. For example, library catalogues use Library of Congress Subject Headings, while the PsycINFO database uses a specialised psychology thesaurus. You need to determine the subject terms used by the search tool to describe your topic before you perform your search.

    View a demonstration of subject searchingView the following video on subject searching.


    Keyword and subject terms can be combined using Boolean operators.

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