Sample research question, with search keywords in bold:
Is cognitive function impaired by depression in older adults?
This example illustrates two important search tools -- Keywords and Synonyms.
When you look at the research question in the example, note that three words are circled. 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 in your research question, and the results will vary in terms of relevance to your search query (or you will get no results). Rather, pull important terms or concepts from your question.
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.
Modified from Rachel Arteaga, CSU Chico: http://libguides.csuchico.edu/c.php?g=462359&p=3160695