Key words are words in a question that tell you the approach you should take when answering an assignment question.
Keywords can include:
Source: University of New South Wales
Select keywords from both the topic and your readings. Keywords can be single words or phrases. You will need to use a variety of keywords to ensure you cover all aspects of the topic and apply the following strategies to combine them
Keyword searching examples:
sedentary behavio#r OR sedentary lifestyle
inactivity AND health risks
inactiv* lifestyle AND obesity
"sedentary lifestyle" AND cardiovascular diseases
sedentary behavio#r (obesity OR overweight)
(exercise psychology) NOT (sports psychology)
(exercise OR fitness) professional
burnout AND overtraining
exercise AND psychological well-being
The ‘VU Search Planner’ provides guidance in search planning, using database features (wildcards, truncation etc.) to find resources, and then platform-specific advice on saving searches. Download and use the guides.
Download this 'Planning your Search' document and use it to develop a search as you look for library resources.
Learn how to use enhance your database searching with these search tips using truncation, wildcard, connectors, phrases and proximity database features.
Discover how to save your search results on the major VU database journal article platforms.
Activity: identifying keywords from assessment topics and searching in academic journal databases
Step 1: Select a topic from the list provided under Assessment 1 in VU Collaborate (for example - overuse injuries in exercise/sports settings or personal meaning of exercise/sport). Think of some of the Keyword(s) or phrase/s.
Step 3 - Share your responses below; double-click anywhere on the padlet to post
Before you start researching on a topic…it is vital that you identify the keywords and apply some of the search techniques to retrieve the best results!
So what are keywords?
Keywords are search terms that represent main ideas and concepts in an assignment question or topic.
Library database looks for keywords anywhere in the record such as title, abstract, keywords and subject headings.
The first step is to identify keywords or ideas from the assignment question or topic.
For instance, if your assignment topic is ‘What effects do physical activities have on the overall health of women?’
Your keywords or concepts are
Physical activity Health Women
Now Step 2 is to think of some of the synonyms or alternative words or related words.
The third step is to use the search tipsor strategies to make your search more efficient!
Such as using Truncation, Wildcard and Boolean operators
The Truncation symbol represented by an asterisk finds a term with various endings in a library search or the databases.
A Wildcard symbol represented by the hash # allows you to find words with alternate spellings. For instance, if you want to find terms containing both the British spelling and the American spelling.
Combine keywords in a search using the Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT
Use of the operators AND and NOT will narrow a search while the OR operator will broaden it!
If you are not getting the right kind of results change your keywords or refinements to broaden out or further narrow the results.
For further information, you can contact us online or talk to a library staff member if on campus.
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