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HLTH 101 Research Guide: Home/Search Tips

Welcome!

Welcome to the Library Resource Guide supporting HLTH 101: Community Health Promotion! This tabbed guide will help connect you to the FSU Ort Library's resources relevant to your research and give you tips about how to use them.

This page begins with some search strategy tips. Below you find:

  • Developing a Search Strategy for OnrSearch and the library databases
  • Boolean: Combining Keywords (video)

Develop a search plan!

When searching the library research databases, OneSearch or the catalog, it's good to have a strategy. Unlike Google or Internet search engines, the databases and the catalog can't interpret natural language or strings of unconnected words. You should identify the key concepts in your thesis or research question and then brainstorm for a few alternative terms and synonyms that go along with them. Then you can connect and combine those terms in different ways using Boolean (see video in box below).

Key concepts are those words or phrases that address the major themes of your topic. They are the words or phrases or both that you can draw directly from your research question.

When starting a search, use broad search terms - you can narrow the focus later. You can then apply the information you find in your initial search to find information about more specific aspects of your topic.

Here's a sample plan for selecting effective search terms to find valuable research information in a library catalog, database, or on the Internet.

A.  Write down your topic obesity
B.  Write down your research question What are the risk factors for obesity in children?
C.  List words from your research question that best describe your topic risk factors, obesity, children
D.  Determine the geographic location relevant to your topic statement (if any).  United States
E. Write down relevant synonyms or alternative terms for the key concepts you listed. Use a thesaurus if you need to! risk factors: risk, probability, predisposition. etc.

obesity: fat, overweight

children: teens, youth, adolescents, etc.
F. Write down different forms of the words or phrases you listed (if any). obese, child

 

You may also want to consider other factors when developing a research plan. Sometimes a date range is important. For example, maybe you are only interested in recent information published since 2005. OneSearch and databases let you configure date ranges when you search.


Now I can develop a basic search statement:

risk AND obesity AND children

 

 

Find out why I combined terms with AND in the video below (capitalization and bold type just for emphasis)!

 

Boolean: Combining Keywords

This YouTube video from the University of Auckland, New Zealand demonstrates how to combine search keywords using the Boolean AND, OR, and NOT. It also shows you how to apply Boolean searching in a variety of database and catalog search screens.

Subject Guide

Sean Henry's picture
Sean Henry
Contact:
Lewis J. Ort Library
Frostburg State University
Frostburg, MD 21532
301/687-4888

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Practice Boolean Search Strategies