From a Topic into a Search Query

Behind information retrieval there is always some need for information. A person who is seeking scientific information may be interested in, for example, the results, methods, findings, or references of earlier publications.

The topic of the search is defined by a certain need for information, a research topic, for instance. The search question may, in turn, be some limited part of a research topic. Especially in larger theses, the information retrieval can be easier to manage if you can chop the research question into smaller parts using search questions.

A search query and its focal concepts are lead from the topic. Search query is the question or a group of questions for which an answer is sought from scientific publications and literature. Defining the concepts is important for both the information retrieval and research processes, as well as the writing itself.

Concepts are used for articulation and classification

Concepts are used to outline and classify the search topic. There can be one or multiple concepts involved in designing the search, ideation and finally the search query as well.

Focal concepts and the subsidiary concepts supporting them can be extracted from the topic of the search. The focal concepts are the core substance of the matter, i.e., the most relevant phenomena. Subsidiary concepts may be used to further outline and define the information retrieval problem. The changes in perspective that occur during the process may produce a need for applying new search terms from another theme.

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Concepts should, at first, be quite simply defined. In this way, it is easier to control their combinations and versatile use in the retrieval phase.