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This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries LibGuides


Online Guide to the information resources for Counseling provided by Auburn University Libraries

Education, Kinesiology, Counseling, World Languages, Literatures & Cultures

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Todd Shipman
2338G RBD Library

Strategy for effective Keyword Searching

To build an effective search for a database it is best to use keywords instead of phrases.

A good strategy for building a keyword search is:
1. Develop a clear topic statement
2. Draw out the concepts from the topic statement
3. Create a list of synonyms for each of the principal concepts
4. Conduct searches using the keywords and synonyms you have selected for an Advanced Keyword search
5. Add more synonyms to your list as you encounter them in your research
Use the Keywording worksheet (link to file above) to help with this process.

Advanced Keyword Searches

Advanced keyword searching uses three connectors:

AND    -restricts results; says each keyword MUST be present in each record

OR      -expands results; says keyword OR synonym(s) are in each record

NOT    -excludes keywords; says keyword(s) must NOT be in each record

This logic allows for detailed search strategies that may involve many keywords (synonyms)!

Keyword OR Synonym OR Synonym 


Keyword OR Synonym OR Synonym


Keyword OR Synonym OR Synonym