Before you embark on your database search, take a few moments to identify keywords, which will be a timesaver for you. Some things to try:
- Write down any research questions you have about your topic; these should be open-ended (starting with How...? or Why...?)
- Identify the key concepts from your research question (look at the nouns)
- Write down synonyms for those key concepts
Taking a few minutes to think about and identify some keywords before starting your search will help you search more efficiently, which will save you time (and frustration).
- Identify important concepts from your research question (look for nouns)
- Brainstorm some synonyms (to help you find more information)
- Keep track of useful terms you discover during research and add those to your set of keywords
Ex. research question: How are nutrition programs in California public schools impacting academic performance?
(Identify the keywords in this research question)
How are nutrition programs in California public schools impacting academic performance?
|healthy eating||Los Angeles||
|food insecurity||San Diego||
|hunger||Oakland||high school||educational outcomes|
Tips on searching the databases
Here are some general tips on searching for articles for your report:
|Use keywords, not long search phrases||
Instead of searching for "How are nutrition programs in California public schools impacting academic performance?" break down your search into the main keywords:
California, nutrition, public school, academic performance
Use quotation marks (" ") to keep phrases together
Use AND to combine different keywords
|"food insecurity" AND "public school"|
|Use OR to combine similar/associated keywords||"food insecurity" or hunger|
|Look for ways to limit your search in the database||You can often limit by type of article (scholarly and peer-reviewed), year of publication, subject|