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Project Management: Plan Your Search

How to search for and find information on project management

What is project management research?


Project management research deals mainly with the processes, skills and techniques that businesses use to bring projects to fruition. As such it draws literature from a wide variety of fields, including economics, management, construction and IT.

The types of literature you'll use as a project management student will be just as varied, from traditional books and articles through to Australian and ISO standards, business case studies and news articles. 

The sample search below will allow us to show you how to construct a search from an assignment question. We'll then take this search and look for information on the Search for Information page (linked on right of screen). 

Sample assignment topic


Petronas Towers and skyline at night

WalkerSSK [@WalkerSSK]. 2016. [Petronas Towers and skyline at night] [Stock Image]. Pixabay.

Demonstrate competency in understanding the relationship between procurement, risk and quality concepts and their impact on project scope, execution, monitoring and control.

Identify your key concepts


Before you begin searching, try to identify the main ideas (or keywords) in your assignment question and list them. You can then create searches to find some or all of these keywords within a single document.

Our sample assignment asks us to discuss the relationship between various concepts (such as procurement and risk) with various aspects of a project (including project scope and project monitoring).

Keyword 1

Keyword 2



Brainstorm keywords & synonyms


Once you have your main keywords you can use them to map out some similar or related terms to search with. Wikipedia is great for brainstorming, but you can also try: 



project scope
project execution
project monitoring
project control
project management


Aspects of a project comprise keyword 1. We've used the examples given, but we've also added project management to the list as well.

Various concepts or issues comprise is keyword 2. Again, we've used the examples given, though you could add related or synonymous terms to this as well, for example tendering for procurement. 

Hopefully we can combine keywords from the left and right side of the table in various ways to find the literature we need to answer our assignment question

Build your search


Often it's best to start with a simple search. For our topic that would probably be combining an example from the left hand side of the table above with one from the right, eg: project control quality

If you find a lot of content, try enclosing the project terms in double quotes, eg: "project quality" as this will give you more focused and relevant results. 

If you don't find what you're looking for, try using Boolean Operators.. Boolean Operators can be used to search for many similar or related terms at once. The idea behind this is to find more material, and also to save you time in having to run many different searches. 

Boolean searches for our topic


Use OR to add similar and related terms into your search.  

  • If you have keywords that are two words or longer enclose them in double quotes: " "
  • Use parentheses ( ) to group your related terms together, otherwise the search often won't work: 

 ("Project scope" OR "project execution" OR "project monitoring" OR "project control" OR "project management")

 You can then combine OR searches together using the operator AND

(“Project scope" OR ”project execution" OR "project monitoring" OR "project control" OR "project management") AND (procurement OR risk OR quality) 

To see how these searches can be used to find material in the library, refer to the Search for Information page