Search terms are words that you type into the search box of the database to describe the topic of items that you want to retrieve. The database will word-match your search terms against the citation information, abstract, or the text of the article, and deliver results that match what you enter.
Subject-related search terms
To find good subject-related search terms, follow these steps:
How does the presence of women in corporate leadership positions affect firm performance?The important concepts would be 'women', 'leadership', and 'firm performance'.
|Main concepts of the topic
|Search terms: Synonyms / related terms
|Concept #1 = women
|female / females
ex / sexes
sex related differences
gender related differences
|Concept #2 = corporate leadership
leader / leaders
leadership style / leadership styles
management style / management styles
manager / managers
director / directors
|Concept #3 = firm performance
➋ Other types of search terms
Search terms that may prove to be useful include:
Revise your list of search terms during the actual search process by adding keywords and subject terms that have been assigned to relevant sources. Here's an example from the Web of Science database. The marked keywords 'gender diversity' and 'business profitabilty' (in this case provided by the author of the article) are very useful new search terms for the example topic.
Having trouble thinking of terms related to your topic? If you don't know much about your subject yet, it can be challenging to discover the right words to search for.