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Prof. Zwick - CJ202 FALL 2022 Juvenile Delinquency: Developing a Search Strategy / Databases

Develop a Search Strategy

Relevant keywords are necessary for effective research. Start by taking keywords from your thesis statement.

Develop additional keywords using synonyms, subject terms, truncation, and combinations of keywords.

1. Use synonyms and related concepts that mean the same or similar things as the words in your question.

Ex. juvenile delinquency OR deviant misbehavior

juveniles OR children OR adolescents

crime OR misdemeanor OR felony

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

3. Use truncation: the database will retrieve alternative word endings when an asterisk is placed after the root of a word. For example:

Crim* will yield results for:

            Crime(s), criminal(s), criminology, criminality

4. Try different combinations of keywords. For example:

  • Deviant behavior AND criminal theory
  • Crim* AND 
  • Developmental theory AND criminal behavior 
  • Violent crime AND psychology

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