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Marketing: Plan Your Search

This guide contains resources and guidance to help students studying Marketing.

Why plan your search?

 

At university you are expected to find and use scholarly information:

  • in your assignments
  • to prepare for class
  • to explore new theories and ideas

However, to find scholarly information you need to search in a particular way to get good results.

Use this page to learn how to plan your search and find the best scholarly information sources to use. 

Step 1: Identify your key concepts

 

Before you find any information, identify the main ideas (or key concepts) in your assignment question or research topic.

Example:

Discuss how social media influence marketing practices.

The key concepts are: 

Social Media Marketing Practices Influence

Step 2: Brainstorm keywords & synonyms

 

Different words can be used to describe the same concept, and sometimes your concepts can be very specific or very broad. 

Think of other words that could be used to describe your key concepts, including:

  • synonyms,
  • broader ideas & terms
  • more specific ideas & terms. 

Example:

Social Media Marketing Practices Influence

Social Network

Social Platform

Marketing

Marketing Strategy

Impact

Effect

Tips: 

Some resources to help with brainstorming: 

  • Google & Wikipedia
  • Dictionaries & Thesauri
  • Reference books & Encyclopedias

Step 3: Build your search 

 

There are multiple strategies that you can used to build a search so that you get the results you want. Start with building a basic search, then learn to build an advanced search.

Boolean Operators are a way of telling a database or search engine how to do your search. Watch the video to learn how.

Example: 

Choose the keywords you want to use, and use OR to combine those synonyms & similar words:

Key Concept Keywords & Synonyms Search
Social Media

Social Network

Social Platform

("Social Media" OR "Social Network*" OR "Social Platform*")

Use AND to combine your key concepts together: 

("Social Media" OR "Social Network*" OR "Social Platform*") AND (Influence OR Impact OR Effect)

In addition to Boolean Operators, there are other strategies you can use in your searching. Learn about Advanced Search Strategies in the video below.

Example: 

Choose the keywords you want to use, and use OR to combine those synonyms & similar words:

Key Concept Keywords & Synonyms Search
Social Media

Social Network

Social Platform

("Social Media" OR "Social Network*" OR "Social Platform*")
Marketing Practices

Marketing

Marketing Strategy

Marketing
Influence

Impact

Effect

(Influence OR Impact OR Effect)

Add * to the end of truncated keywords to search for multiple endings:(

("Social Media" OR "Social Network*" OR "Social Platform*")

Use "double inverted commas" when you are searching for an exact phrase that is two or more words long:

("Social Media" OR "Social Network*" OR "Social Platform*")

 

Finally, use AND to combine your key concepts together:

("Social Media" OR "Social Network*" OR "Social Platform*") AND (Marketing) AND (Influence OR Impact OR Effect)

Step 4: Start searching

 

You will need to find different types of information during your studies. These may include: 

  • Books & book chapters
  • Journal articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • Standards & statistics
  • Reports
  • Grey literature

The type of information you are looking for will determine where you search, and how you search. 

Using the steps above will help you find most of these information types, but there are also other places to look.

Explore this study guide or ask a librarian to discover more. 

Step 5: Review your results

 

Not all the information you get from a search will be useful. A successful search will show results relevant to your topic. If your results are not relevant go back and try different keywords in your search.

Find relevant results by checking the: 

Even if your information is relevant, it might not be good quality. Check if it passes the C.R.A.P. test before you use it.