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Religion: Search Strategies

Keyword Searching

  • What are the main concepts in your research question?
  • What other words or phrases might be used to describe those concepts?
  • Combine keywords with Boolean Operators (see box to the right)
    for a more effective search

Subject Headings

Find Subject Headings in the Online Catalog

  • Use keywords to find a good resource
  • Click on the title
  • Click on Description
  • Use "Subjects" to focus your search
  • Look at "Contents" for additional keywords

Find Subject Headings in EBSCO Databases

  • Use keywords to find a good article
  • Click on the title
  • Click the "Detailed Record" icon on the left side of the screen
  • Use Subject Terms to focus your search
  • Look at Author Supplied Keywords and the abstract for additional keywords

Using Advanced Search

  • Combine subject terms to focus your search even further
  • If available, use a drop down box to search by subject
  • Use quotation marks to search a subject phrase

Boolean Operators

Using Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) with your keywords will help you narrow or expand your results.

The highlighted middle section represents the use of AND. Searching for poverty AND addiction will give you results with both words present. Therefore, your results are fewer.

Using OR between similar keywords will give you results that include both words. Therefore, your results are greater. A search for teenagers OR adolescents will retrieve either or both terms.

The NOT operator gives you results from only one of your words. Therefore, your results are fewer. Searching for addiction NOT alcohol will eliminate alcohol from the results.

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Research Worksheet