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Keyword Searching


How to Begin: Keyword Search

Keyword search - a search for all sources that contain your search words.

  1. Type your search word in the box on the search page. Remember, it must be spelled correctly.
  2. Find the button to start the search and click it. It may look like one of these...



Keyword searches usually are successful, resulting in "hits" that you can use. They are generally successful because the computer looks for matches not only for the words contained in the subject headings, but also in the authors, titles, and contents. However, you may not get any "hits" if you misspell a keyword.

It is important to choose your keywords carefully.

  1. Write down your topic as a phrase, sentence, or question to be answered.
  2. Then circle or list the important words.
  3. Look at each word and try to think of possible synonyms (words that have similar meanings) or related words. 
  4. Be careful that you choose a word that has the meaning you want. Read how it is used in the story. Remember that very common words like "eat" don't usually work well as keywords.
  5. You may not get any "hits" if you misspell a keyword.
Correct Spelling Is Very, Very Important!

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Resources: Plan

Information Literacy eBooks listed by Research Step

Information Literacy eBooks alphabetical list

Research Videos listed by Research Step

Research Videos alphabetical list

Online Research Planner (worksheet)

Research Process Rubric (guide)