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How To - Do Basic Searches in WorldCat Discovery

Keywords: Keys to information

  1. Keywords are better for searching when you’re using tools that don’t like long strings of text.
  2. Conceptualizing keywords helps you think of synonyms or concepts/terminology that is related to your topic.

 Step 1: Write your topic  as a single sentence or question as you would describe it to a friend or your professor.

     Step 2: From that sentence, pull out the 3-5 most important words or phrases.

      Step 3: For each of the keywords or phrases you listed above, list as many synonyms, broader terms, narrower terms, or similar terms as you can. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and even Word Thesaurus (in Tools above) can help with this!

Tip: Subject specific terms can be looked up in a subject specific dictionary. For example, “acculturation” is a sociological term and could be found in a sociological dictionary of terms.

   Step 4: Use the keywords you wrote above when searching any resource. This gives you more to try when your topic doesn’t show up.

REMEMBER: You can always add more keywords.

When you read an article or even a website during your information gathering, you’ll find terms that you never thought of that are either related to or synonymous with your topic.



Find two (2) peer reviewed articles and two (2) primary sources for your topic. Write down the keywords you used, and how you narrowed or broadened your topic.  Do this for each search.