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Searching for Scholarly Articles

Some basics on finding relevant articles.

Identifying Keywords and Concepts

Once you have a research question, it is important to identify the key concepts within the question. Database search may bring incomplete results with long phrases search.

  • Keywords are key concepts of a research question.
  • Keywords are usually nouns.
  • Avoid words that indicate quality (good, bad, effective) quantity (more, less).

Once you have identified the key concepts, identify alternate terms and keywords for the key concepts. 

  • Brainstorm synonyms of key concepts (a dictionary or thesaurus can help).
  • Check dictionaries for alternative spellings of (UK English or American English).
  • If you have an article or source, you can use it to find more keywords (check journal record, title, abstract for keywords).

Now you can combine key concepts and keywords using the Boolean operator like AND, OR, NOT