Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

HMCD 644 - Program Planning and Evaluation

Finding search terms

This example illustrates two important search tools -- Keywords and Synonyms.

Keywords

When you look at the research question in the example, note that there are circles around 3 words. These are the most critical important or distinguishing words in your research question.

Do NOT enter the whole research question. Unlike A Google search, a journal article database cannot sort through all the words and the results will be all over the place or you will get no results.

When you search a keyword, the database is looking ONLY for that word in that form. So when you search for "college," that word is all that  the database will return. If the author used another word, like "colleges" or "university" instead of "college" you will not see results with those words. That is why synonyms are important.

Synonyms

If you do not get satisfactory results to a keyword search, take another look and see if there may be more than one word that an author might use.

For example, if you are looking for information about teenagers, you need to remember that the author might have used words like "teens" or "adolescents" or" young adults." Each of these words will give different results because the computer only returns the word you search.

On the next page "Broaden or narrow your search" you will learn how to put synonyms together so you can find all the good results in one search.

Wichita State University Libraries, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0068 | Phone: (316) 978-3481 | Comments/Suggestions | Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Channel Federal Depository Library Program HathiTrust Digital Library Patent and Trademark Resources Centers