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Prof. Baez - SOC101 Introduction to Sociology: Search Strategy

Find your Keywords

When searching for sources, use your keywords, do not type in whole sentences. The list of topics are still very broad and can be narrowed down further. E.g.:

Social Inequality >

Access to Resources >

  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Banking

There is no one 'correct' search word to use. Different keywords will give you more results. Think of words that mean the same or something similar as your topic and try those words too.  E.g. Poverty, Disparities, Income Inequality, Socio-economic status, etc.

*To help focus your results, add a term such as 'United States' or other geographic limiter.


You may need to broaden or narrow  your search terms depending on your results :


Broader Search:  Gender instead of Women

Narrower Search: Racism instead of Discrimination


Use the asterisk * to truncate words and widen your search. Discriminat* will search for Discriminate, Discrimination and Discriminating

Use quotation marks to keep phrases together: e.g. "Food Deserts" "Food Insecurity"


e.g. search  Health Insurance AND Inequality

Medical Care AND Poverty AND Access

Health Services AND Income AND Disparities

Try your search terms in different combinations to get the greatest number of results.


Prof. Baez - SOC101 pt 2: Finding your Keywords (updated Fall 23)

This video discusses how to break down our research topic into keywords in order to search most effectively in the library databases.

Find more Keywords

Browse through the articles you find to look for additional keywords to search.

Note any organizations, projects, regulations, studies to search (E.g. Affordable Care Act, U.S. National Health Interview Survey) that may give you ideas on how to formulate your own study.

From the U.S. National Health Interview Survey we can find how the survey was set up and who was in it.

The NHIS also posts the questionnaire used in the survey which shows the types of questions asked (e.g. has anyone in the household been diagnosed with asthma; has anyone taken prescription medication in the past 12 months) and survey parameters set (e.g. what is defined as a family).

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