Answered By: Cindi Nichols Last Updated: Aug 27, 2015 Views: 88
First, identify your main concepts (example terms below in red).
Then, for each term, brainstorm different forms of the word, synonyms, related terms, as well as narrower and broader terms. (See below.) Brainstorming for keywords is a process that will help increase your chances of finding information on your topic.
College Students United States Saving money
Young adults U.S. Savings
Millennials America Budgeting
Generation Y Personal Savings
Use only single words, or 2 or 3-word phrases when searching library databases. Do NOT use sentences or questions! Database searching is different from Google searching.
Single words do NOT need quotation marks around them; sometimes it can be helpful to place quotation marks around 2 or 3-word phrases to keep them searched as a unique phrase that has meaning, instead of as individual words.
Try a broad search for your topic in one of our databases (OmniFile is a good multidisciplinary database), to see how scholarly articles describe it. For example, if you are interested in learning environments and their impact on academic performance, type "learning environments" in the search box and click "search".
Browse the articles in your search results. When you see one that particularly interests you, or is a very close match for your specific topic, take a closer look at it. Click the article's title to view its full/detailed record, which will show you subject terms, and author-supplied keywords -- great sources for new search terms:
Substitute SYNONYMS to see what results you get -- authors may choose different ways to describe a topic.
Examples: “right to die” OR “assisted suicide” OR euthanasia
required OR mandatory OR compulsory
- Combine terms with AND to narrow your focus. To find info about fur on dogs, search: fur AND dogs.
- Combine terms with OR to expand your focus. To find info about fur on either dogs or cats, search: fur AND (dogs OR cats).
- Use multiple search boxes:
if you want to know:
What is the effect on a dog's fur of eating fish
You could use the database search boxes to enter: