Are you a student? Want to win an Amazon gift card?

Take our survey on the Lake Effect Research Challenge - the webpage you are on right now - and be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Thanks in advance from your friendly neighborhood librarians!!

Lake Effect Research Challenge: Keyword Searching

Challenge Worksheet

Please Note:  You must be logged into your SUNY Oswego LakerApps account to access and complete the worksheets.

Section 1 Worksheet

Section 2 Worksheet

Section 3 Worksheet

Section 4 Worksheet

Section 5 Worksheet

Related Video

Take a Look at the "Searching with Keywords and Subject Headings" Video to learn more.

Keyword Searching

One way to get better searches is to think of synonyms for the words or concepts in your thesis statement.

The chart includes the main concepts and their synonyms. Use or to string synonyms together. Use and to join your main concepts.

renewable energy or sustainable energy or green energy and
global warming or climate change or greenhouse effect and
slow down or reduction or decrease  

Sample Searches:

Simple Search: renewable energy and global warming

Advanced Search:
(sustainable energy or renewable energy) and (reduction or decrease) and climate change

Another good way to get better results when searching is using subject headings, which are tags created by researchers in the subject that describe what the article is about.

Now We'll Explore Where to Search.

Enrichment--Tips for Searching Databases

Tips for Searching Databases

Not all Databases are Full-Text

Some provide indexing and an abstract (a short summary of an article), but many do provide the complete text of an article online.

A word of caution: Don’t limit yourself to just those databases with full text. You could be missing some key articles on your topic by doing that.

Use Boolean Operators (AND/OR/NOT) to broaden or narrow your search.

AND--will narrow a search. All search terms must be in the record.

OR--will broaden a search. Either or both terms must appear in the record.

NOT--will narrow a search. The term following “not” won’t appear in a record.

Other search tips:

  • Use quotes “ “ to keep words together as a phrase (“learning disabilities”)
  • Use the asterisk * to find alternate endings to words (child* would retrieve child, children, children’s, childhood, etc.)

When You Locate a Good Article, look at the Descriptors or Subject Headings
That’s the special vocabulary used to describe the essence of an article. Use those words listed to locate other articles on the same topic.

You may also want to think of similar words or synonyms for your topic.

Check Databases for Related Subjects

If you're not finding information in the database you're looking in, try looking in a database for a similar subject. For example, if you're searching in a Psychology database about Educational Psychology, you might also try Education Databases.

See if We Have Full-Text in other Databases
Click on the  to search in all the databases the library subscribes to.

Use Interlibrary Loan
If Penfield Library doesn't own the journal or book, you can order it from another library.

Ask a Librarian