Once you have identified a topic, select the terms and phrases that are essential to understanding the topic.
Subjects (or Descriptors)
Each article has key points pulled out by the database and listed as subjects. Use these to brainstorm keywords and see how the database is grouping similar articles.
You can use the thesaurus to explore these subjects and find broader terms, narrower terms, and related terms.
When researching, we are like detectives trying to combine the right terms in the right place to find the information we need. The Gathering Information page will help you to decide where to search, but how should you combine search terms to find what you are looking for?
Search for information using the single most important term related to your topic. Use this type of search when looking for basic background information.
Search for information by combining key concepts using the words you have brainstormed. Each concept/word should be separated by the word "AND". Use this kind of search when looking for specific evidence related to your claim/thesis.
Getting Too Many Irrelevant Results?
Add more search terms.
Getting Too Few Relevant Results?
Change or remove some search terms.
Popular: Sources published in newspapers and magazines intended for general audience.
Scholarly: Well researched sources that have been written for scholars, students, and experts in the discipline area.
Peer Reviewed: Articles that have been evaluated by other professionals in the field to check for accuracy and adherence to disciplinary standards.
Article: Articles are the individual "stories" published in a newspaper, magazine, or journal. For example, the story about the Rangers published in Sports Illustrated is an article.
Journal: Journals contain several articles published about a specific subject area and are typically scholarly. For example, the article about stem cells was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
Database: Databases index millions of articles published in thousands of newspapers, magazines, and journals. There are databases that index sources from many different discipline areas, while others are subject specific. For example, the New York Times can be accessed by searching the database Lexis Nexis Academic.