When searching in OneSearch and specific databases, it is important to search with keywords that capture the essential key concepts that make up your topic. Narrowing down your topic into specific key concepts will help your research process to develop more smoothly. See the key concept examples below:
A search like: impact of gender on people's salary expectations will retrieve fewer results than if you searched for gender AND salary AND expectations.
Brainstorm all of the keywords or terms with the meaning of your key concepts. For the word salary, authors might use terms such as:
- wages, pay, income, or earnings.
Searching for all of those terms together with OR between them (for example: pay OR wages OR income OR earnings) tells the search engine to find all of these terms in your search results, and it retrieves all of the possible works on your topic at once.
OneSearch is a great place to try out your keywords. Try different combinations of keywords until your results reflect the topic you are researching.
Additional Keyword Resources
- Generating Research Questions
- Too Many or Too Few Search Results
- The Portland State University Library provides a great short video on Brainstorming Keywords: