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Prof. Vent - ENG 92: Selecting Search Terms

Pairs of Related Terms - Cricket?

FIRM Search Terms:

  1. Are likely to be on most pages that discuss your topic

(smoking, tobacco, nicotine, regulation, addiction)

  1. Are described in a limited number of ways (unique)

(Surgeon General, menthol, Hookahs, e-cigarettes)

SOFT Search Terms:

  1. Are less likely to appear consistently on pages about your topic;

("ciggies", 2010s, firsthand smoker)

  1. Can be expressed in so many different ways that it is too difficult to come up with a good term or set of terms that are likely to find what you need.

("influence on", "relationship between"; "improve", “effects of”; "affect on"; "consequences of"; "potentially"; "pros and cons of")


Brain - Cognitive - Neuro* - Dopamine

Smoking - tobacco - Nicotine

Hollywood People - Celebrities - Product Placement - Advertising - Movies




Teen = Adolescent


Stop Smoking program = Smoking cessation program



Tobacco Prohibit*


* AND, OR, & NOT

AND (narrower)

smoking AND risk-taking AND adolescent

OR (expanded)

Smoking OR Nicotine

parent* influence OR parent-child relations


NOT (narrower)

risk taking NOT financial


Focusing Your TOPIC


Older adults


Southerners, Northerners, etc.



People who live in cities or the country

People from other cultures

Hollywood people


Addiction – physiological effects


Cancers caused by smoking

Public Service Campaigns and Smoking – what works?

The relationship of the Food and Drug Administration and “Big Tobacco”.

Cost of cigarettes


Why do people start (parents, advertising, peer group)?

  • Because it’s something to do at the bar. What is the relationship between "Outlaw culture" and smoking.
  • People think it’s cool or makes them thin. What is the influence of peer group/advertising/gender issues on the potential to start smoking?
  • Economics. Are there economic factors among people who smoke or do not smoke?
  • People get addicted. Are some people genetically more prone to addiction to cigarettes?


Examine a time period – 1800s, 1950s, etc.

What is the history behind “Big Tobacco”?

What events shaped restrictions on cigarettes or on cigarette advertising?

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