The Best Words for the Best Search
Before you begin searching for information in a print or online resource, identify keywords or concepts related to your topic.
Selecting the Right Keywords
You can find key terminology by scanning:
Your initial research question.
Encyclopedia or other articles used when conducting background research.
Bibliographies at the ends of books or articles.
Develop a Keyword Search
When you have a general idea of your research topic, begin the following steps:
Consider what you already know about your topic and
Construct a search strategy:
Circle two or three of the most important concepts or keywords you have chosen for your search.
Now write each keyword down and list synonymous or related terms:
Write Down Your Search Terms First Concept Second Concept Third Concept Or Or Or Or Or Or Or Or Or
Insert connectors and, or, and not between the terms you’ve chosen to combine them into a search statement.
A search using and narrows your topic.
Example: beer and health and college students.
A search using or broadens your topic.
Example: alcoholic beverages or beer or wine or liquor.
A search using not can eliminate unrelated topics.
Example: Proliferation not nuclear.
Write out the search statements you’ve created: