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Infographic reused courtesy of University of Louisville Libraries.
- Write out your research question. For example: "How does exercise affect the mental health of college students?"
- Pull out the most important words from your research question. exercise, mental health, and college students.
- Think of synonyms for these keywords. Exercise: workout, fitness. College students: university students, post-secondary students.
- Think of broader keywords. Mental health: well-being. Broader keywords are helpful if you aren't getting enough results.
- Think of narrower keywords. Mental health: anxiety. Narrower keywords are helpful if you're getting too many results.
- Start searching a library database with your keywords. Remember to try out different keyword combinations to get the best search results.
- Collect additional keywords as you search.