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Research Guides

EN105 First-Year Writing - All Sections

Search Discovery

This is the same search box as on the library homepage. It's a great starting point to find different types of sources in various subject areas. 


 
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Brainstorming Keywords

Once you've picked your topic and done a little background research, it's helpful to brainstorm relevant keywords. Think of synonyms and words related to the main nouns in your topic. For example, if my topic is

ethics of genetic modification of humans

I might come up with some additional keywords I came across in my background reading:

ethics genetic modification humans
bioethics genetic engineering babies
regulation gene editing human embryos
CRISPR Chinese twins

Constructing a Search

These search tips work in our library databases and Library Catalog:

  • Combine keywords using AND and OR.
    • Use AND for searching different ideas within your topic. E.g. youth AND homelessness
    • Use OR for searching with synonyms of your keywords. E.g. (youth OR teen) AND homelessness
  • Abbreviate words with multiple endings using an asterisk (*). E.g. homeless* to search both homeless and homelessness
  • Search specific phrases using quotation marks. E.g. "Runaway and Homeless Youth Act"
  • Change your search terms around to get different results.

Refining Your Search

Whether or not you found some good results in your first search, it can always be worth it to search again--by changing around your keywords or searching in a different database.

  • If you didn't get many results the first time, try broadening your search by using fewer or less specific keywords.
  • If you got too many results the first time, try narrowing your search by using more or more specific keywords.
  • Try using new keywords from relevant results you did find.
  • Try searching in a different database. Our different databases have different sources in them, so you might find different or more relevant sources in a different database.
  • Ask a librarian if you're not happy with what you're finding. We're here to help!

Additional Databases

Trying a different database is also a great way to find new results.