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Before you search in a database, you need to think about your search strategy. There’s so much information out there that sometimes it can be overwhelming and difficult to find something relevant. Library’s work differently than Google. You cannot type full sentences into a Library database like you can with Google because Library's categorize information by subjects and keywords. Here are some search strategies that can make finding information a little bit easier.
Keywords are the main ideas of your question or topic. You probably already use keyword searching in your own life. For instance, if you want to know what movies are playing in theaters around you, your Google search might include your location (ex. New Paltz) and movie theater. The words you used to search are keywords!
Once you've developed a research question or topic, you'll want to identify the keywords. It might be helpful to circle or underline your keywords.
Sample research question: Does access to higher education affect recidivism (reoffending) rates for people in prison?
The keywords in this question are:
Concept mapping helps you identify keywords and synonyms you can use to find information on a specific topic. It can help you identify what you already know and what you need to learn about a topic. Check out this helpful advanced keyword searching video from The University of North Carolina Wilmington and try concept mapping below!
Since Library databases categorize information differently than Google, we have to use keywords to find relevant information.
Library databases use three words (Boolean Operators) to help you find relevant information: AND, OR, NOT. These three words are usually capitalized so that the database can recognize them.