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International Student Guide

Who are stakeholders? (Databases and Guides by Subject)

Identifying Keywords

Key words are words or phrases that explain your topic. All searches start with at least one key word, whether it's a simple or complex search.

Sample Research Topic: 

How has social media impacted society?

Keywords: Social Media AND Society

Finding Synonyms

When you have your keywords, you need to look for synonyms of the keywords. The more synonyms you use in your search, the more article results you will get from the database.

Example: Synonyms for job: occupation, career, or position

Broaden your search: Truncation

A truncation search allows you to search for several similar terms using one word. For example if you wanted to search for information on industry in China, using the search term


will return any results that include the words "industry", "industries", or "industrial".

Many databases use the asterisk * symbol for a truncation search; some may use a question mark ?. Check the help section of the database you're using to be sure, or ask a librarian.

Search for a specific phrase

You may already be using this method when you're searching in Google, but by placing quotation marks around a specific phrase, you can limit your results to items that use that exact phrase.

If you search for the exact phrase "pulse generator", the following title will be included in your results,

"Design of a Tunable All-Digital UWB Pulse Generator CMOS Chip for Wireless Endoscope,"

but not the title

"Helix antennas for generators of short high-voltage pulses".