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MATH50027: Engineering Statistics: Search Tips

Identifying keywords

Step One: Create and write your research question, example:

Should employees in Canada be given unlimited vacation time?

Step Two: Create your search, and focus on nouns (people, places or things) only. These will be your keywords or phrases - not who, why, where, when, how or what. (Check out the video on the left for more tips.)

  1. employees  2. vacation 3. Canada

Step Three: Identify synonyms for each keyword or phrase. Remember to put any phrases in quotes, e.g..

 Keyword 1
 Keyword 2
Keyword 3
"time off"

You can find more synonyms or keywords using the Visual Thesaurus (see below) or .

Truncation: Find word variations

Try adding an asterisk *  to the root of any word to pick up other variations of the word:

  • Canad* will also find Canada, Canada's, Canadian
  • work* will also retrieve workplace, workers, worked, working

Literature Reviews

A literature review summarizes existing scholarly research on a topic from peer-reviewed articles, books, dissertations, and other sources. The reviewer searches for important research in a particular area of study, and then recaps their key findings in the article. It’s important to note that a literature review doesn’t simply describe what academic sources say on the topic.

Follow this FAQ Guide to learn about:

  • How a literature review is organized

  • Different types of literature reviews

  • Keeping track of your sources