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Public Health 103 (Ramírez): Keywords

Health Communication

Using Keywords

It is best to search the databases with 2-4 keywords.

Brainstorming Keywords

The words you type into the search box affect your search results. Not all authors use the same language to describe similar topics, so you will need to try a variety of searches.

  • Create a list of possible words that could appear in a book or article related to your topic of interest.
  • Come up with synonyms or related terms for those.
  • If you're researching a topic from an historical point of view, it may also be helpful to come up with historical terms that may be pejorative today.
  • Stick to using 2-4 nouns when searching.

Example

"How do sleep habits affect the academic success of college students?"

My keywords are:

  • sleep habits
  • academic success
  • college students

Here are some possible alternatives for each of these keywords:

  • sleep, sleep disorders
  • academic achievement, student success, GPA
  • university students, undergraduates

How to Choose Keywords

McMaster Libraries (2:42)