Skip to Main Content

HLTH 235: Food Systems

Search Strategies

The key to successful searching is not the quantity of results, but the relevancy of the results.

Whether you are searching the web with a search engine such as Google, or searching a research library resource like Omni or another database, there are some common search techniques that can be employed to improve the efficiency of the search results.


Brainstorming keywords before you search, leads to better searches. Your keywords are your search terms.

Before you start your research, develop a list of keywords that best describe your topic.

Think of synonyms, additional keywords, alternate spellings, broader or narrower terms that can be used in your searches.

For example, if your research question is: What the key issues in food security for Canada?

The main concepts of the question are: 

  • food security
  • Canada

Starting with the concept food security, brainstorm similar keywords. For example:

Main concept: food security

Related terms: food insecurity, food supply

Narrower related terms: local food, hunger, food banks, food policy