3. Effective Database Searches

In this tutorial:
Keyword Searching
Tools to Construct a Search
Sample Search
Modifying a Search: Limiting or Expanding
Wrapping Up

Keyword Searching

video View a video demo on Choosing Keywords (flash file)

A database is a frequently updated set of listings for articles and reports from magazines, newspapers, journals, and other resources. You can quickly search a very large number of articles for specific topics, titles, authors, etc. If you don't know a specific article title, author's name, or journal title, a keyword search will be your best bet.

Although Google allows you to type a whole sentence or phrase, most databases do not behave this way. You need to identify the key words to have the database search effectively. For example:

If your topic is:

the correlation between respiratory illnesses in infants and the development of asthma later in childhood

don't just type this into the database search box. Instead, identify keywords, such as:

infant(s), baby, babies, child, children, childhood, respiratory illness(es), asthma, pneumonia, relationship, correlation, etc.

Think about your topic and try to brainstorm as many relevant keywords as possible. A thesaurus can help you find synonyms for some terms. Also, reading about your topic in a basic source such as a textbook or an encyclopedia article can help you think of more keywords.

>>Next page: Tools to Construct a Search

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