How to Effectively Search Relevant Literature with Keywords

When it comes to carrying out research for a literature review, PhD scholars are hit by a mind-boggling question – which keywords should be inserted in the search bar? You should be capable of scooping out all relevant published research papers while writing a literature review, but that becomes feasible only with the correct choice of keywords. Here are the tips that can help you with conducting top-notch research.

Break Your Topic
Break your topic into its terms and then define keywords for the main idea of your research. Think of more and more keywords related to the central concept so that you can get extensive literature work.

For instance, if your topic is “the relationship between speech production and perception”, you will target both phrases – speech production and perception separately. With “speech production” keyword, you will find literature that would revolve around speech production. See the snapshots below.

Similarly, with “perception” keyword, you will find the following studies.

Use Synonyms

Find out synonyms and alternative phrases to selected keywords because you never know which keywords and phrases have been targeted for a particular research paper and journal.

For instance, the alternative keywords that you can use to “speech production” are articulation, sentence production, word utterance, word production and so forth. Similarly, you can use comprehension, identification, perceptual identification, identification procedure, speech perception as alternative phrases to “perception”.

Use Long Tail keywords

Try to use long-tail keywords; ideally a phrase should be between two to four words. Single word keywords are also acceptable, but they may show you inaccurate results.
For instance, if use target single word keyword like “speech” you may find lots of results such as digital processing of speech signals, speech style and social evaluation and so on, but all of them would be irrelevant because your idea is restricted to the relationship between speech production and perception. So always use keywords that are related to your topic.

Summing Up

The bottom line is you should follow the above-mentioned way to get extensive literature for your research work. You should also seek help from your supervisors as they know more suitable ways to collect literature with their experience.

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