We looked at finding known items in 1.2.2 Locate your references. But how do you find unknown items, when you're searching for new information on a specific topic?

The most efficient way to begin is to analyse your topic by identifying the key concepts. We did this in 1.3 Map your ideas by developing a concept map. It was identified in the concept map that, for this assignment, you need to research the following topic:

The social and economic impacts of gambling.

So, your key concepts are:

three key concepts: social, economic, and gambling

Building a strategy

Once you've identified your key concepts, start to build your search strategy. Consider using alternative search terms including broader, narrower, related terms.

Consider Example
synonyms gambling, betting,
acronyms TAB, Totalisator Agency Board
Spelling variations addictive behaviour, addiction behavior
Regional variations pokies (Australian), slot machines (U.S.), fruit machines (U.K.)

This process will ensure you get the broadest possible coverage of the literature when you search. Alternative search terms may be found via your background reading, scanning your initial search results and by checking subject fields in search tools.

Generating alternative search terms

So alternative search terms for our topic may be:

Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3

social

community

societal

economic

monetary

financial

gambling

bet

betting

How do you combine these terms together to form an search strategy?