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
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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