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IDH 2911 (Sexton) : Interdisciplinary Honors Research: All About Keywords

Boolean Operators

Maximize the Keyword search in the Database

  • Use AND to combine keywords and phrases when searching the library databases for journal articles.
    • China AND Film AND History
    • Veterans AND Pensions AND Legislation
  • Use truncation (an asterisk) and wildcards (usually a question mark or exclamation point).
    • Child* and Education
      • Child* brings up child, children, childhood, and any other word that starts with the root "child." This will work in most of the databases.


Keyword Worksheet

Use this worksheet to create keywords that can be used in your database search

How to Choose Your Keywords

Choosing Your Keywords

An effective database search depends on a good choice of keywords (you cannot type a question 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. Think of some synonyms or related terms that you can use for your keywords. These new keywords will come in handy when you are searching.
  4. 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.
  5. Try changing your search by substituting some of your related terms or synonyms with other keywords in your search.
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