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Writing 100 (Chavez): Topics and Terms

Search Credo Reference

Search Credo Reference to find general oveviews of a variety of topics from many reference sources.


Connect from off-campus through the VPN (Virtual Private Network) in order to view ebooks, online articles etc.

Search Terms

Take your topic and look for key concepts.  Take those concepts and brainstorm related terms.

1) Identify a question or topic

2) Look for key concepts

(see below)

What impact has technology had on college student motivation?

impact OR effect OR change OR relationship

technology OR computers OR smart phones OR machines

motivation OR drive OR incentive

Search Strategies

Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks to search for a phrase

  • "public education"
  • "environmental factors"


Use a symbol (* is the most common) to look for variant endings of a word

  • educat* will search for educate, educates, education, educational, educators, etc.
  • skeptic* finds skeptic, skeptical, skepticism, etc.
  • politic* will search for politic, politics, political, etc.

Controlled Vocabulary

Databases use controlled vocabulary to index or tag articles and books. Successful searching is dependent on discovering what those words (terms) are.

Some databases have tools to help you find the controlled vocabulary terms. These terms usually include definitions.  For example -->