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MBHS IMC Home Page: Research Help

Research assistance, subject guides, and useful resources. Questions? Call us at 301-649-2831 or by email at mediacenter@mbhs.edu

Research - The Big Picture

APA Format

Keyword Searching

A keyword is a word that is found in the title or text of a document that indicates the main content or the essence of the document. Keyword searching implies using combinations of these individual keywords (instead of whole sentences) to narrow down or broaden your search results. You can use keyword searching to find informationin the index of a book,  on the World Wide Web, in any of our research databases, or in our library catalog. Online, use the "Advanced Search" function when searching with your keywords. As you find and read articles and webpages, write down other words you come across that describe your topic, words you may not have initially thought of. In this way you are continually refining your keyword list.

Things that narrow your search results:

  • Boolean Operators "AND" and "NOT" (See the "Planning Your Keyword Search" link below)
  • Using a phrase within quotation marks ("football injuries" instead of football injuries)

Things that broaden your search results:

  • Boolean Operator "OR" (See the "Planning Your Keyword Search" link below)
  • Truncation: An asterisk (or in some search engines, a plus (+) sign) after a word means "find this root word with any ending." For example, teen* will find any article with the words teen, teenager, teenagers, or teens in it.

Tips for Searching on the Internet

Evaluating Web Sites

Free web sites are often very good sources of information, but you should always be careful to check a page's validity by asking question such as:

  • Who wrote it? Is the author knowledgable about the topic?
  • Who sponsored it? That is, who paid to publish it online?
  • How old is it?
  • Is the information balanced (presents both sides of an issue) or biased (gives only one point of view)?

See the links below for more help in evaluating web sites.