Identifying key terms

When carrying out electronic searches it is important to try out different synonyms or related terms, therefore one of the first things that you need to do is to establish the key terms to use. Once you have found some journal articles relevant to your study, these often include lists of key words and you can then use some of these to develop your search. An example of how key terms can be identified is included here:

Area of focus: Constructivism in science teaching

Suggested steps to follow:

  1. Think of key terms that relate to the focus area.

  2. Enter these terms into Google Scholar and identify some relevant journal articles.

  3. Use these articles to help you identify further search terms

  4. If your search does not come up with any useful sources consider using alternative terms.

Possible key words and phrases you could search for:

Possible key terms

Alternative terms you could try

 you could tryconstructivism



(the three terms above would be entered together as a search string)

constructivist; constructivist learning; discovery learning; problem-based learning; inquiry learning experiential learning

“constructivist-informed practice”

“constructivist-informed teaching”


“socially mediated learning”