Skip to Main Content

Property Economics: Plan Your Search

How to search for and find information on property economics

What is property economics research?


Property economics research combines mathematical and economic topics with elements of management, law and demographic analysis. As such it draws on a wide variety of literature: from books and journals, legal materials like legislation and cases, business information and property data. 

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


Sydney street image

kennG [@kennG]. 2014. [Sydney city streets] [Stock Image]. Pixabay.

Prepare a valuation report for a retail business on a main street retail strip in Sydney. Two method of valuation will be used which include the direct comparison (rate/m2) method and the income/capitalization method. 
The valuation report will address the following points:  

1. Description of the suburb and market segment being monitored, including the visual presentation. 

2. Information on the street, including addresses, sale prices, rents and yields per quarter.  

3. A full explanation of the method(s) of valuation used which should include direct comparison and the capitalization methods of valuation.  

4. The strengths and weaknesses of the methods used, as well as a discussion their application to the property being valued.  

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 has many different elements, but the central aspect is the creation of a valuation report for a business on a main street retail strip in Sydney. We're also asked to consider two different valuation methods in the report: the comparison method and the income/capitalization method.

So, in this search we have:

  • two major keywords to consider (retail and valuation)
  • and a third keyword that is still important, but not as important as the other two (the method of valuation)
Keyword 1 Keyword 2 Keyword 3




Brainstorm keywords and synonyms


Once you have your main keywords you can use them to map out some similar or related terms to search with..

There aren't too many other ways of saying retail, so in this case we've just used property as a backup. Sometimes if might be useful to use both together - eg: retail property.

We've also added appraisal as a synonym for valuation.

For the method, we wouldn't actually search for the word method - instead we'd see if we could incorporate one of the methods listed under that heading, including both the Americanized spelling of capitalization and the Anglicised spelling (capitalisation).

Retail Valuation Method





  • Remove a keyword or add more related terms if you don't get enough good hits.
  • Add a keyword if you have too many hits and they aren't focused enough on the topic.

Build your search


When searching, it's best to start simple. For our topic that would probably be just retail property valuation

If you find lots of material try adding a keyword, eg: retail property valuation capitalization

If you don't find enough material, 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.
  • Use parentheses ( ) to group related terms together
  • If you have keywords that are two words or longer enclose them in double quotes: " "

(comparison OR capitalization OR capitalisation OR income)

  • Then, combine OR searches together using the operator AND:

(retail OR property) AND (valuation OR appraisal) AND (comparison OR capitalization OR capitalisation OR income)

To see how these searches can be used to find material in the Library, see the Search for Information page (linked on the right of screen).

If you don't get good results, remove a keyword from the search, or try to think of more related terms.