1.3 Making Your Topic Searchable
Once you have a research topic, you need to take the time to make the topic searchable in UBC Library resources. With Google you could simply type the entire question in the search box, but you would retrieve millions of results. To develop a more specific search, here are some tips which will help make the process of searching simpler, faster and bring up more relevant results lists.
Knowing how to find what you need in library resources is a powerful research skill and the keywords you use are a huge part of the success or failure of your search. Keywords, or search words, are words or short phrases that represent the main ideas or concepts in your topic. For example, look a the following topic:
|Does caffeine have an influence on academic achievement in teenagers?|
The keywords for this topic are: caffeine, academic achievement and teenagers
Once you have your keywords, you are ready to begin your search.
Putting the Keywords Together
Some library resources will need you to develop searches differently. Look at the example below. In Summon you can search by putting all the keywords in one line, but the database Academic Search Complete requires you to use AND between the keywords. You will learn more about Summon and databases in later modules.
The Power of Synonyms
Include synonyms in your search whenever possible. Databases only bring back results which contain the exact words you typed in. If you don't include synonyms you could miss a great deal of relevant material.
For example, if you are researching a candy-related topic you may think of the following alternate words to use in your search:
|Keyword||Synonyms||Developing a Search|