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MAT Student Research Help: Find Articles

Leverage Footnotes and Bibliographies

Footnotes and bibliographies are a quick way to find relevant materials and track the names of popular authors.

Create a Keyword List

The right keywords can go a long way to helping you effectively search catalogs, databases, and the Internet. The following tips will make the process easier:

  • Start by compiling a list of keywords that represent each concept of your topic.
  • 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)


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

Example: vegetarianism and environment

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

Example: global warming or climate change


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

Keyword Thesaurus

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.