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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.

Search Strategies

Keywords and Logic

Brainstorming keywords gives you opportunities to search multiple ways, to discover different results. You'll be amazed what outcomes a little tweak in your thinking does!

Keywords represent main ideas and concepts in your research topic.

  • Start with your research topic or question. To search online and in databases, you need keywords.
  • Read background information on your topic and write down words related to your topic. These words will help you brainstorm keywords.
  • Try some of these words in the Libraries' QuickSearch box. Does useful information come up? Do your words match words that researchers are using in their journal articles?

Four types of keywords (and examples) to consider:

  • Narrow - Corn is a narrower word for food.
  • Broad - 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.