What are your keywords?
Choosing keywords (search terms) is a very important part of conducting your literature search. You may need to experiment with multiple terms to find the ones that bring up the best results. This might be a related term like a synonym, or a variation of the word (e.g., singular vs. plural).
- Don't enter a full research question into a library database. Instead, break your topic down into its component concepts.
- Example: What roles does social media play in protest movements?
- Concepts: social media, protest movements
- For each concept, consider possible synonyms as well as broader or narrower terms.
- Write down a list of terms to refer back to and help inform your searching. Add to and edit this list as your research progresses.
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How do I use my keywords to create a search?
- In library databases, use the Advanced Search form and put each concept on its own line
- Try different keywords and combinations of keywords
- Combine synonyms together to expand your search and retrieve the maximum number of articles on your topic
- Use OR to combine like terms
- Use AND between each separate concept