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McNair Scholars

Research guide for McNair Scholars

Start with keywords to describe your topic, within results, look at the abstract and subject headings to identify additional keywords to use.
It's all about experimenting!
Know that you will have to revise your search = change/add/remove keywords or 
 change search field to subject or abstract

 Example topic: What kinds of programs have states implemented to help ex-prisoners return to society?
ex-prisoners            return          programs            states

Always think of different ways to say the same thing:
prisoners                     re-entry        policy           
criminals                                           policies


Use connectors to form your search strategy:

OR: either term/s are included (to connect synonyms or like concepts)
prisoners or criminals                return or re-entry              programs or policy or policies


AND: all terms must be included (to connect concepts)
prisoners and re-entry and states and programs


Put it all together:
prisoners or criminals
return or re-entry
programs or policy or policies

Additional search tips:
Place Phrases in Quotes:                                             Use * for Truncation
"organic food"                                                                  global* = global or globalization
"social anxiety"                                                                immigrant* = immigrant or immigrants
"domestic violence"                                                         environment* = environment or environments or environmental 
"political participation"                                                     tax* = tax or taxes or taxation 
"international trade"
"climate change"

Additional examples:
post traumatic stress disorder" or ptsd
media or tv or television

lgbt or lesbian or gay or homosexual
"social media" or facebook or twitter

Many databases also use the Near (N) operator:

Near Operator (N) - N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another regardless of the order in which they appear. Brings the words closer together. label* N5 "genetically modified food*" 

 Start with keywords and then depending on what is retrieved - limit keywords to the Subject (SU)