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Master of Science in Biomedical Communications

Searching Tips

Keywords

Keywords are one or more words (or a phrase) that describe the main ideas of your research topic.

Advantages/Disadvantages

  • Look for word(s) anywhere in the document

  • Do not require specialized, technical language

  • More flexible for searching - can combine terms in various ways

  • Usually generate larger number of results than a subject search

  • Often yield many irrelevant results

  • Do not take into account the meaning of the words, so if a word has multiple meanings (e.g. mouse), irrelevant results may show up

 

Ask yourself three questions:

  1. What is my topic?

  2. What are the key aspects of this topic?

  3. What are alternate keywords for each aspect?

Brainstorm keywords to use in your search. Pick words that represent each key aspect of your topic. This can be challenging. The same idea can be expressed in many ways. To ensure best results when searching, brainstorm several keywords whenever possible.

Subject Headings

Subject Headings are a standardized set of words used to identify what something is about (aka the subject of the content).

Advantages/Disadvantages

  • Find materials with one search instead of trying multiple keywords
  • Less flexible - need to know exact term or phrase
  • Fewer results but usually more relevant to the topic
  • Only subject field is searched
  • Guessing the subject heading term usually  does not work - need to know the exact word or phrase

Title Searching

A TITLE search allows you to find books, journals, magazines, newspapers, government publications, videos and any other type of library material by title.

  • Title searches are generally the fastest way to find a specific item.
  • You can omit The, A, An, etc if your TITLE starts with that word. 
  • If there is no match for the title you entered, check the spelling and try alternate forms of the word (e.g.: Year Book or Yearbook, U.S. or US or United States). 
  • Type the full name of a Journal/Magazine/Newspaper. Do not use abbreviations.