Choose a topic that interests you.
You could start with a very broad topic such
But you would find way too much
information on this subject--enough
to write several books! The topic is too broad!
Connectors (Boolean operators) are used in keyword searches to link together two or more terms. The most
commonly-used connectors are: AND and OR. AND narrows a search; you get fewer records, because both concepts must be present in the
records found--here the area in blue. Use AND to combinedifferent concepts in one search. OR broadens a search; you get morerecords because OR includes each of theconcepts separately, as well as bothconcepts when found together. OR is oftenused to link together related concepts.
computer AND history OR mathematics
computer OR history AND mathematics
If you have trouble coming up with a topic or its keywords:
Use the Ready Reference Book: 10,000 Ideas for Research Papers.
Do some exploratory searches in a database like PsychArticles.
Check a subject encyclopedia for ideas and concepts.
Look at the abstracts or summaries of articles that interest
you; they may give you ideas for topics. Also, look at their subject
terms for possible keywords.
A keyword search looks for items anywhere in the record. It is the
Also, keyword searching allows you to combine more
than one topic in a search, for example, "adolescents and
Keyword searching allows you to search all of the fields of a record at the same
time. A record contains fields that identify a specific item such as a book or an article.
Subject headings are standardized terms used to group records on
the same topic under the same term. For example, records on
ecommerce would be listed under a standardized subject
The main advantage of subject searching is the ability to find
records that are highly relevant to your topic.
Subject searching allows you to search just the subject field of a book record.
Truncation and Wild Cards
Truncation and wildcard symbols stand for one or more letters within or at the end of a search term.
Added to the stem of a word, a truncation symbol will find thatstem plus anything that comes after it. The symbol used to
truncate a word depends upon the database or Web searchengine you are using. Common truncation symbols are: ? and *.
market? will return records on market, marketing,markets. ? is used as the truncation
symbol, for example, in the library catalog.advertis* will return records on advertise, advertised,advertising, advertisement, advertisements.
* is used as the truncation symbol in InfoTrac, OneFile and Wilson Select Plus.