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Service Management

Develop a search strategy

According to the Library of Leeds University, a search strategy is an organized structure of key terms used to search a database. The search strategy combines the key concepts of your search question to retrieve accurate results.

Your search strategy will account for:

  • possible search terms (also consider synonyms)
  • keywords and phrases 
  • truncated search terms
  • subject headings (where applicable)

Each database works differently so you need to adapt your search strategy for each database. You may wish to develop several separate search strategies if your research covers several different areas and different kinds of texts.

It is a good idea to test your strategies and refine them after you have reviewed the search results.

Leed University Library. (2023). Literature searching explained. Available at: (Accessed: 28.02.2023)