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Prof. Elias - Eng. 102; SPRING 2022: Developing a Search Strategy

Using Keywords

Use keywords and synonyms:

Start by taking keywords directly from your thesis statement.

Use synonyms and related concepts by thinking of other words that mean the same thing as the keywords in your question.


  • social or
  • society or
  • societal or
  • social aspects


  • family or 
  • familial or
  • family relationships or
  • family conflict or
  • family dynamics or
  • relatives or 
  • relations

Use truncation:

You can broaden your search results by typing an asterisk symbol  *  at the end of the root of a word. When you do this, the computer will search for alternative endings for the word you have typed.

For example, ‚Äčfamil* yields results for: 

       family    families    familial    familiar

Example of a Database Search

Using Subject Terms

Look at the subject terms in your search results and see if you can use any of those. 

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