Blogs and websites

Finding tools, techniques and handbooks

  • To find information about tools combine a material with the word tools, e.g., metal tools
  • To find information about different techniques use technique as a keyword with materials or topics, e.g., metal technique or fabrication technique
  • To find handbooks/manuals combine either word with a material, e.g., metal handbook

You can use truncation to find all variations of a word: wood* tools will find wood, wooden, woodworking tools

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Podcasts, blogs and video channels can offer valuable insights into the realities of industry

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Create a search strategy

  • Analyse your research question or assignment topic. Restate it in your own words if that helps you to understand it.
  • Identify the keywords which represent the main ideas or concepts in your question or topic.
  • Think of synonyms and related terms for the main concepts. Use a concept map or table, as below.
  • Formulate your search by selecting a word from each column (or different concept).
  • Try searching various combinations of the keywords/synonyms, e.g., design simulation, design visualisation
    design visualisation software
    model simulation technology
    concept imagery programme

Keyword searching

A database keyword search usually looks in the title or abstract of an article - choose either of these fields to narrow results

Use brackets or the quotation marks to keep keyword phrases intact, e.g., (simulation technology) OR "model simulation software"

Use a truncation symbol (*, $, or ?) to find all versions of a word.

  • E.g., metal* will find metal, metals, metallurgy

You can use Boolean operators (AND, OR and NOT) to search for different combinations of search terms

Building on your research

Use a literature-searching strategy that builds on information you already have. Start with a relevant book or article and try some of the following:

  • Look at the reference list or bibliography for more material.
  • Take note of the words used in the text of your book or article. They may provide useful new search terms to use when searching for more literature.
  • Find your book or article in the library Catalogue or databases. Use the subject headings listed in the details section of Catalogue or database records to find similar material.
  • Look up other works by the author.
  • Search for your book or article on Google Scholar to find other researchers who have cited the author in their research.

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  • Referencing
    Access a range of tools and support material to assist your referencing work.


  • Quick©ite
    Use this interactive tool to view examples of references.
    Covers a range of styles used at the University of Auckland.

Last updated : 26 August 2020
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