Answered By: Mary Ann Cullen
Last Updated: Dec 15, 2016     Views: 2521

Two ways to search for information involve using keywords or subject headings (also called subject terms).

KEYWORD searches author, title, subject, and other descriptors of the article (or book, video, etc.).  Sometimes (not always) keyword searches for words within the article. You perform a keyword search every time you search in Google.  The upside to a keyword search is that it is easy, and you usually get plenty of results. The downside is that often too many results appear, and the results aren't always relevant to your search. 

SUBJECT HEADINGS are specific words used by librarians to describe the main concept of an article.  Once you find out what the assigned subject terms are for your topic, you can better locate relevant articles by doing a "subject" search. Subject heading searches are trickier than keyword searches because you have to figure out which subject heading works best for your topic. Subject heading searches are worth the effort because their results are most relevant to your information needs.

Podcasting for DummiesWe recommend that you start your search using your topic as a keyword.  Then, take notice of the subject terms assigned to articles that best fit your topic and use those subject terms in your next search

This video highlights what we have talked about so far with developing a search strategy, including refining your topic and discovering keywords.