Skip to Main Content

Keyword Search Process

  1. Identify the main concepts of your topic. 
  2. Brainstorm synonyms, related terms, and antonyms that could be used to describe your topic.
  3. Avoid using terms that are:
    • Abbreviations - spell them out instead or use both the abbreviation and the full word connected with the word OR
    • Relationship words - like compare, contrast, correlation, causation, relationship
    • Judgment words - best, worst, pro, con, advantages, disadvantages
  4. Using the Advanced Search feature of the online databases, combine your keywords together using Boolean operators, AND OR and NOT
  5. Use quotation marks around phrases - "heart rate" (will not find the use of heart or rate separately, only together)
  6. Use an asterisk after word stems - educat* (will find all words with that root - educate, educator, education, etc.)

Developing Keywords

Turn Your Topic into a Search

Search vs. Research

Using Keywords to Search

Tips for Effective Search Strategies

Effecting Keyword Searching Slide Presentation

How to Use Google Advanced Search