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Copy of Library Research

Getting Ready to Research with Keywords

You may be accustomed to researching topics by typing questions into a Google search bar. When searching Library Databases, brainstorm words that are related to your topic and then use the most meaningful nouns as your search terms. Leave out adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and, in most cases, verbs. 


EXAMPLE: If your research question is: "Is coffee bad for you?," some keywords to try in a database might be: "caffeine and health and risks".


Librarians can help you find good keywords! Use our Ask-A-Librarian 24/7 live chat for help! 

The following video offers advice on starting your list of keywords.

(CC BY-NC-ND McMaster University Library. )

Another way to find good keywords is to use background sources such as EncyclopediasThe next page guides you to background sources at OC Libraries.