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ENGL 1020: English Composition 1020

This guide will help you devise a search strategy from a research question, find resources, and get through that big paper.

Keywords and Logic

  • Keywords represent main ideas and concepts in a research topic. 

    • You start with a research topic or question, but to search, you need keywords. 
    • As you read background information about your topic, take note of keywords related to your topic to help you create a search strategy.
    • You can also use the library catalog to brainstorm for keywords.
  • There are four types of keywords that can be helpful to consider, depending on your topic.

    • Narrow - For example, corn is a narrower word for food.
    • Broader - And dog is a broader word than chihuahua.
    • Related - Education is related to testing and common-core standards.
      • They have a relationship, but aren't the same thing.
    • Similar - Teenager is similar to "young adult."
  • Brainstorming keywords gives you opportunities to search multiple ways, to discover different results. You'll be amazed what outcomes a little tweak in your "logic" will dig up. 

Use QuickSearch to Brainstorm Keywords

  • QuickSearch
  • Journal Titles
  • Databases
Search UM Libraries
Search for books, articles, media, and more:
Search UM LibrariesFind Journals, Newspapers, and Magazines by Title or ISSN:
Search UM LibrariesFind a Database Using Title or Keywords: 

Brainstorming Keywords

Boolean Logic -- Putting it All Together



The picture above links to a very helpful explanation of the rules of Boolean logic. Want to narrow or broaden your search? Need to exclude a word? Click through for help.