Skip to Main Content

Writing Research Papers

Tutorial on Search Terms from UCLA

To do an effective search using the library's databases or OneSearch, you have to use keywords -- search terms related to your topic or research questions.


Before you go any further, click on the following link and complete the tutorial on Developing Research Questions and Creating Search Terms. Then watch the additional videos that follow.

Developing Keywords

Analysis – breaking the “big picture” into its proper parts; dividing a topic into subtopics of inquiry; dividing a problem into its sub-problems.

Breaking the "big picture" into its proper parts. 

Searching Databases With Keywords

How To Develop Keywords

Search Tips

Refining Your Topic / Picking Search Terms

Tips on Selecting Search Terms:

1. Find your "ideal" article on your topic using several keywords you have thought of. Look at the Subject Words that are used by the database to describe this article. Try another search using some of these Subject Words.

2. Use the "lingo" of the discipline you are interested in. Look at the Thesaurus of Subject Terms list in the database to select terms. There is usually a tab indicating this list on the Search page of the database.