The Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

FOUN 098-61: The Great Black Migration: Getting Started

Scholarly Databases

Tips for Effective Searching

Selecting Keywords for Your Search

To come up with keywords for your research, consider doing the following:

  1. Think carefully about your topic.  Write it out in a sentence or two.
  2. Circle the key concepts in your topic sentences.
  3. Brainstorm synonyms or related terms for your key concepts.  Consider using the attached keyword concept grid document.  On the left side of the grid, you write the main idea or concept, and on the right, you write synonyms or related terms.
  4. These are now your search terms.  Experiment with different combinations of the terms using AND/OR.
  5. When you successfully find sources that are relevant to your search, pay attention to the keywords and subject terms in the database record and the source itself.  This may lead you to additional sources.

Subject Librarian

Carrie Pirmann's picture
Carrie Pirmann
Bertrand Library
Research Help Area
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM