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ANTA01: Becoming Human

Fall 2017

Keywords Describe your Topic

Searching for information relies heavily on the use of keywords. Being able to translate your topic into meaningful keywords is the difference between quickly finding information, or having a long and frustrating search for relevant articles. Here are some ways to generate keywords:

  1. Brainstorm keywords ahead of time. Consider your topic: Was it covered in course readings? What do you know about it already?
  2. Do some background research; Wikipedia is fine for this. Consider the words being used to describe your topic.
  3. Consider synonyms.
  4. Look at the words that pop up as you type in a database. There might be a new keyword in there somewhere.
  5. If the database has one, look at the thesaurus.
  6. Find an article that is really relevant to your topic. What keywords are used in the article? What subjects were assigned to the article? Look at the references for that article.

Search Article Databases with Keywords

Tip: No database has everything. Search multiple databases to find the best articles on your topic.

  1. Use "and" between different keywords to focus your search.
    Example: Type teen AND pregnancy AND economics to ensure your articles contain all these terms.
  2. Use "or" between synonyms to expand your search.
    Example: Type teen OR adolescent to find articles which include either of these terms. If you only search for teen and an article uses adolescent, you will miss it.
  3. Wildcard*: Use a wildcard * to expand your search.
    Example: Type teen* to find alternate endings, such as teen, teens, teenager, teenagers.
  4. Use limiters to focus your search.
    Example: If you only want peer-reviewed articles, click the peer-review box. Do you need more recent articles? Use the date limiter.