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Research Help: Search Terms

This guide will help aid you through the research process.

Why Search Terms?

So what's the big deal with search terms?  This may seem unnecessary in a world with Google but for scholarly, authoritative research you'll need to utilize library databases.  And with databases, you will need to use the appropriate search terms.

What will search terms do for you?

  • Make your research more effective & efficient.
  • Find the most useful sources faster & easily.
  • Save you time!
  • Get you better grades!

Selecting the Right Number of Keywords

Search Term Brainstorming Example

After developing a topic for your research, you must identify the main concepts of your topic.  

The worksheet attached below will help you brainstorm search terms including synonyms, broader/narrower terms, related terms.

Example Search Term Brainstorming

Topic:  How effective is pet therapy for elderly patients suffering from depression?

Major Concepts:  pet therapy, elderly patients, depression

 

CONCEPT 1

CONCEPT 2

CONCEPT 3

Major Concept

pet therapy

elderly patients

depression

Synonyms

animal therapy

animal assisted therapy

geriatric patients

melancholy

sadness

despair

Broader Terms

psychiatry

therapeutic

rehabilitation

psychotherapy

elderly

aged

older people

mental health

psychology

psychiatry

mental illness

Narrower Terms

animal assisted therapy

elderly women

elderly men

chronic depression

psychotic depression

Related Words

pets

attachment theory

attachment behavior

gerontology

mood

therapy

 

Please utilize the Search Terms worksheet for help!