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INR 2002 (Ramsier): Searching Tips

This guide is designed to help students with library research as they complete assignments in International Politics with Professor Ramsier at the Poinciana Campus.

How to Choose Your Keywords

Choosing Your Keywords

An effective database search depends on a good choice of keywords (you cannot type a question or phrase into the database). How do you pull out keywords from your research question or statement to use in your database search?

  1. Think about your topic. Write it down in the form of a research question or statement.
  2. Circle the most important ideas or concepts in your question or statement. These become your keywords.
  3. Connect your keywords together using the word AND. By adding the word AND, you are telling the database that you want all of these keywords to show up in your search results.

Here's an example:

What is the American foreign policy in a post 9/11 world?


American foreign policy

 9/11 (you will also want to search September 11 as an alternate term in case an author does not use 9/11 in their article)


Possible Search strategies:

American foreign policy AND 9/11

American foreign policy AND September 11

Keyword Worksheet

Database Searching

When searching a database, you will use the keywords you created to search for journal articles. In the Advanced Search of most databases, there will be several search boxes separated by an AND. Use one keyword per box. Here's an example from Academic Search Complete.

Searching Academic Search Complete

Poinciana Campus Librarian

Karene Best's picture
Karene Best
Poinciana Campus Library - Room 331B