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How to Choose Your Keywords
Choosing Your Keywords When Searching the Databases
An effective database (article) 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?
- Think about your topic. Write it down in the form of a research question or statement.
- Circle the most important ideas or concepts in your question or statement. These become your keywords.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Violence OR Aggression OR Destructive Behavior
Teenagers OR Adolescents
Possible Search strategies:
Media AND Violence AND Teenagers
Television AND Aggression AND Adolescents
Television AND Violence AND Teenagers AND Effects
Movies AND Destructive Behavior AND Adolescents AND Consequences
Use this worksheet to create keywords that can be used in your database search