Keywords are any words you can think of that describe your topic of research. These can be individual words or a phrase. These keywords can be chosen either from the sentence or question you create to define your research topic. They may also come from browsing various databases and/or the library website. They may also just be words and their synonyms you can think of yourself based on your research topic/main idea.
For more information on developing research topics, please review the following presentation:
Adapted from Jennifer Rosenstein's "Getting Started With Research: A Quick Introduction to Picking Your Topic"
Keyword searches will be broad: title, source and contents of each item will be searched for your keyword(s). These searches may retrieve too many, too few, or completely irrelevant items. That is why using this method is a good way to start your research process. A keyword search can be the first step on the way to finding more specific subject headings appropriate to your topic and using them to get more relevant results.
For more information on Keyword Searches, please review the following video tutorial:
Boolean Operators or connectors are simple words (AND, OR, and NOT) used as conjunctions to combine or exclude keywords in a search, resulting in more focused and productive results. Using these connectors can either broaden or narrow your search to garner more relevant results.
For more information about boolean operators and/or other search practices, please review the following resources:
A subject heading is specific word or phrase used to find and organize books and articles by topic. Subject headings can be a great way to easily find things related directly to your topic. Once you have identified a book or article that is worthwhile in the catalog, take a look at the subject headings associated with it.
In the library catalog and many databases, an item's subject(s) will be a link, so that you can click on the subject heading to find similar items. You also might want to note the exact words to search them as a keyword later.
As seen in the example catalog record below, the list of subject headings is included with the title, author, & description of the resource. Those terms may be utilized in more specific, relevant searches as headings or as keywords.