Search Synonyms and SRMO

Categories: SAGE Posts


We’ve been doing alot of work this week thinking about search and synonyms for SRMO.

There will be 3 core search functions on the product: the Quick Search, the Advanced Search and the search of our visualisation tool: “Methods Map”. Our goal is that, when you search for a term, you will receive all of the relevant literature related to that term in the Quick and Advanced search mechanisms, and you will be positioned in the relevant place in the map for searches in the Methods Map.

Our work generating the ontology for SRMO made us realise just how many synonyms there are for methods terms. Some are very close to each other (e.g. “behaviourism” and “behaviouralism”) and others that are a completely different name for the same method term (e.g. “bandwagon effect” and “cromo effect”). And for some the methods term can be very similar when used in some contexts, but very different when used in others (e.g. “surveys” and “questionnaires”). And, ofcourse, these judgements can

Our ontology now stands at 2050 terms and there are about 4.5K synonyms.

So, what happens when someone types “bandwagon effect” into the quick search? Should they see search results for all terms that are “bandwagon effect” and “cromo effect”. We are concerned that this could be confusing, particularly for introductory-level users.

Our solution is to split our synonyms into synonym terms that should be incorporated into the search and deliver search results (e.g. results for “behaviouralism” should be delivered alongside results for “behavourism”, and synonym terms that should be highlighted to users as “search recommendations” at the top of the page for them to select to establish a new search “e.g. if you search for “bandwagon effect”, your search results will display matches for “bandwagon effect” and at the top of the page there would be a search recommendation to suggest that you execute a search for “cromo effect”.

Now we are categorising all of our 4.5K synonyms terms to be either registered in the thesaurus or used as search recommendation terms.