Choose a topic you’re interested in.
Remember that a topic can be too broad (The Civil War) or too narrow (What sort of buttons Lincoln was wearing when he died). Try to aim for something in the middle.
Keyword searching uses the words AND, OR, and NOT as connectors between keyword terms to tell a database or catalog how to search according to a system of Boolean logic.
1. Turn your research question or statement into keywords:
Introduce therapy dogs to sufferes of PTSD in a Veterans Affairs Hospital.
"therapy dogs"* PTSD veteran
*Two or more word phrases should be put into quotes: a phrase search.
2. Make a list of synonyms for each of the concepts:
"therapy dogs" PTSD Veteran
"therapy animal" "Post traumatic Stress Disorder"
3. Use Boolean logic to connect these keywords into a search statement.
"therapy dog" and PTSD
Your results will show only articles that contain both words.
PTSD or "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder"
Your results will show only articles in which at least one of the terms in each circle appears.
"therapy dog" not pet
Your results will show only articles in which the phrase "therapy dog" appears, but not the word pet. It is best to use “not” only when excluding terms.
4. Use Truncation to pick up plurals or alternative endings.
The truncation symbol in the majority of the databases is an asterisk (*), but some databases will recognize a question mark (?), hash mark (#), or exclamation point (!).
employ* : employee, employed, or employment