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Indigenous Community Development and Governance (ICDG)

A research guide for the ICDG program

Develop effective searches

To determine what keywords to use when searching, write out your question on a piece of paper and then underline the words in your question that best express what it is you are looking for.   For example, if this is my research question:

What are some differences between Western and Indigenous leadership practices?

I would focus in on the bolded words:
What are some differences between Western and Indigenous leadership practices?

Then, I would construct my search as follows:
western AND indigenous AND leadership AND differences

If I am not happy with my search results I could think of synonyms for my search terms, then try a new search.

Instead of differences, I could also try: challenges

western AND indigenous AND leadership AND challenges

Similarly, I could also try to tease out differences by focusing on leadership styles

western AND indigenous AND leadership styles

So, I could do additional searches that are similar to my first search, and get more results for my research question.

As you look through your search results, pay particular attention to the words the authors are using as well as the subject headings some articles will provide, as these can give you ideas for keywords to try in future searches.

*Remember, you want to find good information on your topic, and in order to find good information, plan to spend time searching.

For more information on search strategies, see the following pages:

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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.