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Tutt Library Research Guides

 

ED556 Action Research for 5th Year MAT Secondary Candidates: Search Tips

Keyword Variations

Use all variations of a keyword.

Words to describe topics change over time. For instance, English as a Second Language (ESL) has changed to English Language Learners (ESL), but the terms English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and bilingual are also used.  

- The Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies thesaurus will help you find variations of keywords and subject headings.

- The following databases have thesauruses:

Create A Keyword List

The right keywords help to effectively search catalogs, databases, and the Internet.

  • Start by compiling a list of keywords that represent each concept of your topic.
  • Try the Search Generator from Northwest Missouri State University to help you create a keyword search.
    • Use more specific terms when searching databases versus catalogs.
    • Look for additional terms in your search results. Add these to your list.
    • Search Google Books for keywords in the title, table of contents, subject headings, and text of books.

      You may need to do multiple searches in each database to research your topic. However, with patient and persistence, you'll find relevant material.

      Keyword Searching

      Use the Search Generator from Northwest Missouri State University to help you create a keyword search.                                                                 ________________________

                              Using AND/OR/NOT (Boolean Search Operators)

      AND

      Use AND to focus search and combine different aspects of your topic.

      Example: vegetarianism and environment
      OR

      Use OR to expand your search and find synonyms/related terms.

      Example: global warming or climate change

      NOT

      Use NOT to exclude a word or phrase from your search

      Example: emissions trading not United States

       

      Additional Search Tips

      "Phrase search"  - Use quotation marks (" ") to search for a particular phrase.

      Example: "greenhouse gas emissions"

      Truncation * - Use an asterisk to find variations of a word. Put an asterisk following the root of the word to find all variations of that word, including singular and plural.

      Example: environment* (finds environments, environmental, environmentalist, etc.)

      (Grouping/Nesting Keywords) - Use parentheses ( ) as a way to group all your search terms together.

      Example: (climate change or global warming) and population growth

      Leverage Footnotes and Bibliographies

      Footnotes and bibliographies are a quick way to find related materials and track popular authors.

      Tutt Library, Colorado College      Research Help Desk: 719-389-6662, Texting: 719-387-5441, E-mail: tuttref@ColoradoCollege.edu