Determining what kind of information you need BEFORE you begin searching will help direct your research and guide you to the correct information resource.
|Information Need||Information Type||Database Options|
|Background Information||Books and Internet Articles (even Wikipedia)||OneSearch and Google|
|Current News||Newspaper articles, magazine articles, and trade journal articles||Global Newsstream, Business Source Premier, and ABI/INFORM Complete|
|Opinion and Analysis||Magazine Articles and trade journal articles||Business Source Premier and ABI/INFOM Complete|
|Scholarly Information||Scholarly articles||Business Source Premier and ABI/INFOM Complete|
|Industry Trends and Practical Info from Practitioners||Trade journal articles||Business Source Premier and ABI/INFOM Complete|
|Company Information||Company Profiles, SEC Filings (e.g. Annual Report, 10-K, 10-q, 8-K)||Mergent Online|
What are Keywords?
Keywords are the words that you use to conduct a search in a database. Keywords are one of the most important aspects of searching for information in a database. They represent the different concepts or main ideas related to your search. If you only search for one concept, you are likely to get too many search results. You want to identify 2-3 different concepts within your topic to get more precise results.
Step 1: Consider the who, what, why, when, where, and within of your topic.
To get relevant results when you search it's best to generate a few keywords that represent different aspects of your topic. If you only use one keyword you will probably get too many search results.
Step 2: Brainstorm synonyms and similar words that serve as alternatives to your original keywords.
The first keywords that come to your mind when you think of your topic might not be the same keyword that authors or the database have used to describe your topic. You want to brainstorm similar words to include in your search.
Step 3: Mix and match your keywords and keep track of what keyword combinations are successful.
Keep track of the keywords you are using and the keyword combinations that generate successful search results. You will find that each database tags articles with a list of "Subject Terms" or "Subjects." These are the words that the database uses to organize information. If you find a subject term that is relevant to your research log it in your keyword chart and try using it in your search.
1. Use broader search terms
|Narrower Term||Broader Term|
2. Connect different expressions of keywords with "OR"
1. Use "AND" to connect the different concepts in your topic.
Using AND to connect your keywords means that the database is searching for articles that include ALL of your terms, rather than either/or. The more keywords you have connected with AND, the more narrow your search results will be.
2. Use Subject Terms
Subject searching uses subject headings that come from a predetermined list of possible terms and reflect the content of the item. Many databases use subject headings that are unique to that particular database. This controlled vocabulary allows for the consistency of terms across the database. A subject search is more specific than a keyword search: it looks in only one field of each record - the subject field.
3. Use Database Filters
Filter your search results by source type (scholarly articles, trade publications, magazines, etc.), publication date, subject, geography, etc.