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COMM 101 (Ortiz) SU 20

Keywords are Critical!

Keyword Tips!

  • Keep them brief and concise.
  • Spelling counts but punctuation doesn't. Make sure you don't misspell your keywords.
  • Use "quotation marks" to keep words together in a specific order.
    • Asperger's AND "college students"‚Äč
  • Think about how experts in the field would phrase the concepts you're researching and use those terms in the database.
  •  Use truncation (shift 8 to get the asterisk) to search for multiple variations of a word. 
    • Ethic* - searches for the words ethic, ethics and ethical at once.

Keep in mind that searching is not an exact science and you'll need to experiment with different combinations of keywords to get the results you want.


Using Keywords in a Database

  1. Go in broad with a keyword search and then narrow your results through subject searching.
  2. Search for each aspect of your topic separately.
  3. Don't assume you're going to find one source that covers all aspects of your topic. Instead, you'll need to gather bits and pieces of information from a variety of sources.

Scholarly Articles Explained

Use Library Databases to Find Articles & More

Use your SURF ID & password to access databases from Off-Campus.


Reference Databases - Great for background research

Conducting background research helps you create working knowledge on your topic and find ideas for keywords.


Try the OneSearch!

Search across most of the library databases at once.


Academic Database