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5.2 Selecting relevant keywords (search words)

The first step in carrying out an effective online search is to define what exactly you are looking for; you should do this by writing down your search question or query. Choosing the appropriate keywords is often the most difficult part of an effective search, so you need to think carefully about the words you use to make sure that your search returns the most focused set of hits.

Clearly, the type of search engine used will dictate the type of material you will discover. If you carry out a standard Google search, it will search the whole of the surface web and find all manner of articles. Using specialised search engines such as Google Scholar can help to filter your search and retrieve reliable sources from the deep web. Using more bespoke databases will help you retrieve further relevant sources from the deep web and subscription-only sites.