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.

Composing a Search: Introduction

Interactive guide to demonstrate how to compose a search and test it on a sample of library databases.


Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education

Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Faculty of Science    

School of Indigenous Studies

For further contact information visit the UWA Library Contact us page.



Creating a good search which returns all the relevant results requires some planning.Figure with magnifying glass

If not done properly you will either

  • waste a lot of precious time
  • miss relevant results

This guide sets out a four step process to develop efficient searches.

  • Select key terms
  • Identify synonyms and related terms
  • Add punctuation for phrases and truncations
  • Combine terms with Boolean logic

On the Try it tab you will be able to test your ability to create an efficient search.

You don't want to wind up like this guy.