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Hospitality and Tourism: Basic Research

General purpose subject guide with resources pertaining to hospitality and tourism.

Create a List of Search Terms (and Alternates) for Your Topic

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Figuring out the right search terms is a key part of conducting an effective search whether you are using library databases or searching the web. The process for developing good search terms is the same for both


How do I know what words to enter into a Search Box?

You may be assigned a topic to research or you may be asked to choose your own. Your topic will be your starting point in choosing search terms.note-taking icon

  • Types of search terms: 
    • keywords - a general list words related to your topic.
    • subject searches - words listed or bolded database lists
      • nouns - the names of something or someone -- people, things, places
        •  example - nouns for a topic in psychology: "depression,"  "bipolar disorder," "schizophrenia."
  • Make a list of main search terms 
  • Create a list of alternate search termssynonyms (different words that mean the same thing)
    • WHY? Different authors will use different terms that mean the same thing so If you can't find enough information using one search term, another
    • Consult a Thesaurus to find related or alternative words or synonyms.  

Basic Searching in Library Databases


list iconAs you gather background information and data keep a running list of relevant words, phrases, key concepts, and subjects you encounter to use in future searches related your specific assignment goals.   Make a list of terms and their variations. Different authors use different terms and having this list will help you cover all your research bases.


note iconNOTE: When searching, put quotes OR parentheses around phrases of more than one word -- "market research" or (market research) - to search for the phrase  -(market research) - instead of the individual words separately.



  • customer; (internal customer), "external customer", (customer loyalty), "customer satisfaction"
  • service, (service strategies), "customer service;"
  • team; teams, (team manager), "team lead"
  • supervisor, supervisory, (supervisory management)
  • event, venue, conference, (trade show), vendor
  • food, (flow of food), "foodborne illness," (food production), "critical control"
  • hospitality, (hospitality sector),
  • professional, (professionalism)

Advanced Search Strategies for Library Daabases

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Advanced search strategies can save you time and narrow your search from tens of thousands of articles to dozens.

Remember when searching, put quotes or parentheses around phrases of more than one word to search for the phrase instead of the individual words separately.


  • Boolean Operators (AND, OR, and NOT) to help you narrow or expand your results
    • Searching for restaurant AND delivery will give you results with both words present. Therefore, your results are fewer.
    • Using OR between similar keywords restaurant OR cafe will give you results that include either word alone or both words together. Therefore, your results are greater. A search for will retrieve either or both terms.

      The NOT operator gives you results from only one of your words -  delivery NOT mail - . Therefore, your results are fewer. Searching  eliminate articles containing the word mail from the results.

    • Most databases have an Advanced Search option that provdes you with three or more boxes to insert keywords, phrases, names etc. and options to choose AND, OR, and NOT from a drop-down menu.

  • Wildcard Searching - Truncation will save you time by searching or variations of a root word

    • Adding an asterisk to a root word, manag* means you will locate articles or information for ALL variations of the root, manag*

      • manage, manages, manager, managers, management, managing

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