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Twitter Ethics Research

PROBLEM: Not sure if I have the right search words!


Remember: The most efficient way to search will often involve multiple keywords (also known as a  'search query')

  • Databases (and also online search engines like Google, Bing, etc.) bring back results that containing the exact word(s) that you put into the search box – no more, no less.
  • If you do a one-word search in a database, you will get many results quickly (like a Google search), but many will not actually be focused on your topic.
  • But if you use several ‘keywords’ to describe your topic - and add the word AND (in capital letters) in between them - the database will bring back a more focused set of results.
    • You 'told' the database that you only wanted the results that had every keyword in them.
    • Most of our databases have an ‘Advanced’ search page where you can put multiple search words in multiple search boxes, with the AND already in between them.


Example: You’re writing a paper about the portrayal of women’s body image in media.


women AND images AND media


body AND image AND women AND media


Example of advanced search interface with multiple keywords





You’re seldom going to get the perfect set of results from the first search you run.

  • Your search - and your 'search query' - evolves as you go along.
  • You may find alternate words and synonyms...
    • in result titles
    • in the abstract (the short synopsis of what the book or article is about)
    • within the book or article’s text
    • in subject terms / indexing terms (the words that databases use to ‘file’ / index their documents).
      • A search result's 'indexing terms' are often listed somewhere near the search result's abstract.