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ENGL 100 (Birch) SP24

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Key Terms

Databases search for sources based on your choice of key terms. 

What are some terms, synonyms, and related terms for your topic? 

Mental Health: wellness, stability, emotional health, optimism, resilience, psychological health, depression, suicide, grief, PTSD

Immigration: migration, travel, cultural identity, immigrant, migrant, the border, status, undocumented, naturalized citizen

Family: household, nuclear family, parent-child relationship, sibling relationship, family traditions, family roles, mother-daughter relationship

Keyword Tips

Keywords are the most important ideas in your topic.

Advanced Search Strategies: 

  • Use quotation marks to search the exact phrase: "Chicana studies"
  • Use AND to link terms in the database. For example: "Mexican American" AND "higher education" AND success combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms.
  • Use OR to find either term; this is especially useful with synonyms. For example:  "Latina" OR "Chicana" combines terms so that results contain either of your terms.
  • When using the OR command in a more complex search, place the OR'ed search terms in parentheses. For example: ("Mexican American" OR Chicana OR Latina) AND "college students". Alternately, use the Advanced Search form provided by most databases.

Grow Your Keyword List With: 

  • Words you read in abstracts, article titles, and subject headings

What is a Scholarly Journal?

Scholarly (or Peer-Reviewed) Articles are:

  • Written by experts in a subject who share original research
  • Published in a scholarly journal


  • Use technical language 
  • Use many in-text citations
  • Include lengthy references
  • Often include tables, charts, and graphs
  • Include few to no advertisements

Learn how to spot a scholarly article: Is it a Magazine or Scholarly Journal?

Suggested Databases