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Searching for Articles & Using Databases

Keywords

Keywords are the words that you use when searching for information, whether in a library database or searching in Google.

The keywords you use can have a profound impact on the results of your research. Using the right words will speed up the research process, while the wrong words can bring it to a halt.

Before you can begin searching for information, identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be easily be found by scanning: 

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  • Your research questions

  • Articles found from background research

  • Bibliographies found at the end of books and articles

  • And yes, Wikipedia

Be sure to keep a piece of paper and a pen handy, so you can try searching for any new keywords you discover!

If you are still struggling:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms

  • Find pictures related to your topic, then describe them

  • Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend