Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Banner Image

Research Methodologies: Search Concepts & Synonyms

Search Concepts & Synonyms

Search concepts are terms, words or phrases derived from your research topic. To do an effective search, you will need to come up with search concepts.

  1. Formulate your topic into a question
    Who should take care of the elderly : the family or the government?


  2. Break down the topic into its main concepts
    Elderly | Care | Family | Government


  3. List as many synonyms for each main concept by consulting dictionaries and thesauri.


  4. Think of the broader terms for your concepts to help you get a better perspective on your topic and give you more search terms. Especially when you retrieve nothing or very few items with your search terms, remember to search using the broader terms to get more general materials that may be useful.

For example:

Who should take care of the elderly :
the family or the government?
Main concepts: Synonyms: Broad terms:
Elderly Aged
Senior citizens
Old folks
Care Care
Looking after
Home care
Institutional care
Social services
Public services
Family Filial responsibility
Filial piety
Family roles
Intergenerational relations
Social institutions
Government Government role
Government policy
Public policy