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Real Estate Investment: Plan Your Search

How to search for and find information on real estate investment

What is real estate investment research?


Real estate investment combines many disciplines, including finance, management and valuation. The literature you'll use as a real estate investment student will be varied too, from traditional books and articles to company and market information, legal materials and business news.

The sample search below will 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. 

Sample assignment topic


Sydney skyline at night image

Kantona, W. [@wimkantona]. (2015). [Sydney skyline at night] [Stock Image]. Pixabay.

Reflect critically on the case study of an apartment building in the City of Sydney LGA. Using the perspective of a city planner, evaluate how the project concept could have been revised to improve its contribution to urban policy goals on sustainability.

For this topic you will need to have a detailed understanding of urban policy documents and be able to use evidence to evaluate the project's shortfalls against these policy goals 

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 evaluate how a Sydney apartment building could have been revised to improve its contribution to urban policy goals on sustainability. The question has many elements, but the main three might be the topic (sustainability, keyword: 1), the location (Sydney, keyword 2) and the building type (apartment, keyword 3)

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. In addition to Google and Wikipedia, a good place to start doing this would be in the policy documents for the City of Sydney local government area, such as the Sustainable Sydney 2030 goals. 


Sustainability Sydney apartment

low carbon 
green building
energy consumption 

New South Wales


high density residential

Using the Sustainable Sydney website we've come up with some similar and related terms for sustainability: waste, water, energy consumption etc.

For Sydney we've also added New South Wales and Australia, in case there are documents out there that talk about Sydney within discussions of sustainable building at a state or national level.

For apartment we've added high density residential, flat and unit.

It's important to note that we may not need to use all three keywords in every search. Some searches could just be about sustainable building and apartments, or sustainable buildings and Sydney.  Let the results guide you when determining how many search terms to use. 


  • 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 be sustainable apartment or sustainable apartment Sydney 

Again, you don't need to use all three keywords at once when searching. Try swapping in different combinations from columns 1, 2 and 3 until you feel you have enough material. 

Green building sydney  
energy efficient apartment

If you don't find much, you can also try Boolean Operators. Boolean Operators can be used to search for all possible combinations of your search 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 double quotes to search for keywords that are two words or more in length, eg: "low carbon"
  • Use parentheses ( ) to group your related terms together, otherwise the search often won't work: 

(sustainability OR "low carbon")

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

(Sustainability OR "low carbon") AND (Sydney OR NSW OR Australia) AND (apartment OR "high density" OR unit)

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.