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ENC 1101 (Govan): Research Basics

This guide is designed to help students with library research as they complete assignments in Professor Govan's ENC 1101 course.

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 these keywords to show up in your search results.

Here's an example:

What are the effects of media violence on teenagers?

Synonyms:

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

Media AND Destructive Behavior AND Adolescents AND Consequences

 

Scholarly versus Popular Sources

Source Evaluation