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Data Science: Plan Your Search

This guide will help Data Science students find information they can use for their studies

Sample assignment topic


Create a digital visualisation on the rise in construction of oil or gas pipelines in the last 10 years in Central Asia. 

Map of pipelines in Centrl Asia
Image: U.S. Energy Information Administration. (n.d.). Oil and gas pipelines in Central Asia. Mapping Cultural Space Across  Eurasia.

Identify your key concepts


Before you begin searching, it's a good idea to identify the main ideas (or keywords) in your assignment question.

Our sample question asks us to create a data visualisation representing the growth in oil and gas pipeline building over the last 10 years in Central Asia. 

Despite the fact that the sample question is short, it contains many elements:
1. data visualisation
2. growth
3. oil and gas
4. pipelines
5. Central Asia
6. the last 10 years.

To find information for this assignment we will need to find data on oil and gas pipelines that have been built in Central Asia (and the world more generally) in the last 10 years, as well as some information on the oil and gas industry in Central Asia. We will then have to turn that data and information into a data visualisation.  

Let's begin by creating a search for data about oil and gas pipeline production. For this we then need to concentrate on:

growth Oil / Gas  pipelines Central Asia

Keywords and Synonyms

Before searching in earnest, it's also good to do some background reading and map out some additional terms to search with. Wikipedia is great for brainstorming, but in this specific instance the CIA World Fact Book,(linked below) might be useful for country-level data.

growth Oil / Gas Pipeline Central Asia



natural gas


Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.








Boolean searches for our topic


Use Boolean Operators to combine keywords & synonyms into a search to maximise the different matching possibilities between your keywords and a search engine's contents.

  • Use OR to add similar and related terms to a search.
  • Use parentheses ( ) to group terms connected with OR together
  • Use AND to combine sets of related terms
  • If you have keywords that are two words or longer enclose them in double quotes: " " 


(construction OR growth OR build) AND (gas OR oil) AND pipeline AND ("Central Asia" OR Kazakhstan OR Kyrgyzstan OR Tajikistan OR Turkmenistan OR Uzbekistan)

The example below was found with this Boolean syntax in Google Scholar:

Central Asian Gas: prospects for hte 2020's - aricle found in Google Scholar