Module 2: How to formulate a good search query?

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1.3 From problem definition to keywords and search terms

A well-phrased problem definition saves you quite some work, since it allows you to search the required information very specifically. From your problem definition you can derive keywords. Keywords are the key concepts of your problem definition and are the basis of your search queries.

Example:
Problem definition: what are the costs of courtship display in birds during breeding season in terms of their energy management? 
Keywords: courtship display, birds, breeding season, energy management

By complementing keywords of your problem definition with translations, synonyms, singular or plural form, narrower and/or broader and/or related terms, you obtain a good set of adequate search terms.

The trick is to locate as many relevant and as few irrelevant publications as possible with as few search terms as possible.