Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Jun 02, 2016     Views: 998

Use a keyword search to search all parts of a source for the words you enter in the search box. This type of searching uses "natural language" and is one you're probably already familiar with--you simply enter words or phrases into a search box that you think are relevant to your topic.

When doing a keyword search it's a good idea to try a number of different search terms and phrases. Don't be discouraged if your initial keyword search brings back too many, too few, or irrelevant results--you'll want to try multiple keywords, synonyms for your keywords, different combinations of keywords, etc. to bring back the best results.

For example, if you are looking for information about the dangers of texting and driving, you may start out with keywords like: texting, driving, distracted driving, danger, cellphones, etc.

But you'll also want to try using synonyms for keywords (e.g. cellphonesmobile phonessmartphones, iphone, etc.) and combining keywords (e.g. texting and driving, distracted driving and danger, etc.) to get better, more thorough results.

Most Useful For:
  • Finding resources using "natural language" that describes your topic
  • Very flexible--can easily be combined with other searching techniques
  • May bring back too many, too few, or irrelevant results if keywords are not carefully selected
  • Users should try multiple keywords, combinations of keywords, etc. to bring back the best results

The library has several books and eBooks in our collection which can help answer your questions about keyword searching. Check out the books and web resources below for additional information.

Helpful Books from the Library:

 The Oxford Guide to Library Research Book Cover

The Oxford Guide to Library Research by Thomas Mann
Call Number: REF Z710 .M23 2005
ISBN: 9780195189971
Publication Date: 2005-11-01

 The Creative Guide to Research Book Cover

The Creative Guide to Research by Robin Rowland
Call Number: [electronic resource]
ISBN: 9781564144423
Publication Date: 2000-07-01

To find more books and eBooks on keyword searching, please search the Multi-Search or the Online Library Catalog.

These web resources may be helpful if you need help with keyword searching. However, be sure to evaluate any sources you use--the Shapiro Library cannot vouch for the accuracy of information provided on external websites.

Still Need Help? Ask a Librarian!

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