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English 110 - Martin: Keywords

This guide provides students with recommended resources for research in English 110 with Joanne Martin.

Developing Search Terms

Sometimes the words you use to search a topic are different from the words used by the library catalog and databases. Before you search, try coming up with other ways to describe your topic.

For example:

  • Fracking is also called hydraulic fracturing
  • Searches for human trafficking, sex trafficking, modern slavery or enslavement, forced labor, and forced marriage all bring up different results.

If you have trouble finding information on your topic, ask a librarian for help or try some of the search words listed below:

  • Explore combining specific topics, terms, or locations
    • Example: single payer health care in California
  • Social issues or social problems
  • Social justice, social conditions, or social aspects
  • Environmental issues or environmental problems 
  • Environmental justice or environmental conditions
  • Equity, discrimination, or inequality
  • Politics
  • Human rights or civil rights
  • Causes and effects
  • Solutions
  • Pros and cons
  • Debate
  • Activism
  • Policy
  • Laws and regulations
  • Funding
  • Politics
  • History
  • Outcomes or outlook

How to Search Keywords

Keywords are the words you type into a search box to search for information on your topic. The words you use to describe your topic may be different from the words used in the library catalog (OneSearch) and library databases. For example, another way to describe teenagers might be adolescents.

Watch the video below for a short tutorial on keywords, including some good strategies for combining them effectively. If you have trouble finding information on your topic, ask a librarian for help choosing successful keywords.