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SPC 1608 (Morris): Research Tips

A guide to help students find research for speeches in Professor Morris' Fundamentals of Speech course at the Osceola Campus

Book Search

Choosing Your Keywords When Searching the Library

An effective book or database search depends on a good choice of keywords (you cannot type a question into the catalog). How do you pull out keywords from your research question or statement to use in your catalog 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. Search the catalog using the most general keyword.
  5. If too many items appear in your search results, connect some of 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.
    1. Try changing your search by substituting some of your related terms or synonyms with other keywords in your search.

Here's an example:

What are the effects of media violence on teenagers?


Effects OR Consequences

Media OR Television OR Movies

Violence OR Aggression OR Destructive Behavior

Teenagers OR Adolescents


Possible Search strategies for searching the catalog for a book:

Media Violence

Media Violence AND Teenagers 

Television AND Violence

Television AND Violence AND Teenagers

Movies AND Aggression

Movies AND Aggression AND Adolescents


Keyword Worksheet

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search