What makes a good keyword?
Good keywords are single words (usually nouns) OR specific phrases (two or more words that must go together to make sense). Here is an example of some keywords and phrases:
Try to use keywords that are more specific than general. For example, if you want to research the effects of socioeconomic characteristics on literacy development, think about specific SES characteristics or specific effects. Those keywords and phrases might be:
Once you have a list of keywords, you can create search statements. A search statement is made up of two or more keywords connected with the word AND. The search statement is what you will type into the search box in the database. Remember, searching databases is different than searching Google, so you must search in the way the database will best respond. Here is a few examples of search statements.
Quotes - use quotes around two or more words that must go together. This tells the database to search for that exact phrase. Avoid putting quotes around words that do not need to be an exact phrase. For example, instead of searching "early childhood literacy" try searching "early childhood" AND literacy
Synonyms and Related Terms - Think about synonyms and related terms for keywords that can be used in searching.
Search statement: "income level" AND "early childhood" AND literacy
Search statement: poverty AND "early childhood" AND literacy
If you are searching for "parental involvement" also try the phrase "family literacy"
Read your search statement: Does the search statement include the relevant terms for what you are looking for? Remember you may need to search several times with different search statements. Try different combinations of keywords to get different results. Switch out keywords for synonyms or related terms.