Before searching for articles, you will need to choose your topic, identify ideas or concepts related to your topic, and brainstorm keywords.
For example, if I wanted to research LGBTQ+ representation in media:
For each major idea, try to come up with one or more keywords including:
Add "quotation marks" around phrases. This tells the database (or search engine such as Google) to treat the phrase as one term (rather than searching for each word individually).
Using the "Advanced Search" option allows you to put each keyword in its own search box, which makes it easier to change out keywords for synonyms, narrower or broader terms, etc. It also gives options for limiting your search results by date, source type, and others.
Use database search tools AND, OR, and NOT (as drop downs in Advanced Search or between keywords in the search bar):
AND = will only show results that include BOTH terms
OR = will show results if they have at least one of the terms
NOT = will exclude results that use that term
Subject terms (also called "subjects" or "controlled vocabulary") are the database's "official" keywords assigned to topics. When searching with subjects, your results will most likely be more precise and relevant. You can find subject terms in a few places:
Limits can be added using Advanced Search or from the search results page. Databases usually include options to limit by: