3.2 Keywords Tutorials
WELCOME to your MCNY research tutorials! Here, you will be asked to engage with resources and tools and answer questions to help facilitate your understanding of advanced research.

This tutorial will show you how to use keywords to search for information, especially for scholarly information in our databases.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of the MCNY librarians at research at researchhelp@mcny.edu.
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If you are completing this for a class, please provide your first and last name so that you can receive credit for completing the tutorial.
TECHNICAL NOTE: At certain points, you will have to copy links provided and paste them into a search engine (e.g. Google) to access the resources indicated.
The video From questions to keywords: Beginning academic research by the Lloyd Seally Library (2017) is a very good introduction to how to search for information, especially for academic information in databases.  Watch and then, answer the questions below.
Now, let’s practice what we’ve learned in the video. So, how do you find academic sources on your research topic? STEP 1: You want to take the main concepts from your research question and use those as your starter keywords. For example, if a student’s research question is “How does poverty affect a child’s admission to college?” what might the keywords be? *
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Let's try STEP 1 again. What are the main concepts in this research question? “What typically hinders the reinstatement of utilities to small towns after a disaster?” *
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STEP 2: Expand keywords. Find synonyms and related words. Now that you have your starter keywords, you will want to expand them to include synonyms and related words. Databases might not use the same words that you do for certain subjects, so this step ensures that you will still find the information you need. As you search for articles, you will find additional keywords used in the articles. Make sure that you write down these new keywords, and conduct a new search using them. So for our first question, our keywords were poverty and college admission. What other keywords come to mind? *
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You might also want to consider topics and keywords that are related to your current keywords. Some other keywords can include financial aid, and first-generation college student. Let's try our second research question. The keywords were hinder, reinstatement, utilities, small town, and disaster. What other keywords come to mind? (Hint: If you get stuck, you can use a tool like Thesaurus.com to help you generate keywords.) *
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STEP 3: Mix and match keywords in a library database The final step is to use one of the library databases to mix and match keywords. You can do this in the library catalog or in one of the databases. On the MCNY Library homepage (https://www.mcny.edu/library), scroll down to "Databases" and select "Databases A-Z." On the page that opens, scroll down to EBSCO under E. Once you click on EBSCO, type in your username and password (if you have not done so already), and then you will see the search screen.
Try some of the keywords for question 1. These were poverty, child, admission, college, poor, poorness, impoverished, university, application, student, teenager, and young adult. You can also try any other keywords that you came up with. What do you notice when you type in different keywords? How do your results change? *
Let's try question 2. The keywords were hinder, reinstatement, utilities, small town, disaster, stop, prevent, services electricity, water, gas, reestablish, restore, flood, rain, wind, tornado, hurricane, flood, and emergency. How do your results change as you try different keywords? *
REMEMBER: At MCNY, you have many resources to support you in completing your research projects including librarians, writing specialists, math specialists, and student mentors. You can also book a research consultation with a reference librarian for more one-on-one help and contact the Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) directly for a one-on-one writing session.
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