PPE 4884 - Hersch: General Searching
Searching with Keywords
Three steps to keyword searching success:
1. Pull out the most important words in your topic or research question and use them to search. Hint: look for the nouns. Example:
- Research Question: Does listening to classical music improve intelligence?
- Keywords: classical music, intelligence
2. Then, think about synonyms or related terms for your keywords. Example:
- classical music: Mozart, Bach, chamber music, opera, symphony
- intelligence: smart, brain, intellect
3. Try searching with a few of your keywords at a time. Not liking your results? Try a different combination or think more carefully about the kind of information you're looking for. Who would be writing about this topic? What kind of language would they use?
- Google ScholarGoogle's search engine for scholarly research: the ease of Google searching combined with the quality resources you find in library databases. It indexes citations, abstracts, and full-text articles, books, conference proceedings, theses, online repositories, patents, legal cases, and more. Google Scholar is particularly good when starting research and canvassing the literature or as a final search on a topic. From off-campus, click "Scholar Preferences" to set Get VText library links, which will ensure linking to full-text sources works properly.
- ABI/INFORM GlobalABI/Inform indexes citations, abstracts, and full text news articles, market and SWOT analyses, industry reports, country reports, downloadable data sets, dissertations, business cases, working papers, annual reports from North American companies, and company profiles and histories. You can limit searches to peer-reviewed journals. Full text provided in HTML and PDF. 1971-present.
- JSTORJSTOR is an archive of journals from the humanities, social science, and sciences. It is not a comprehensive index of any of these subjects. Articles are available as PDFs back to volume one for most journals. While a select few journals include content from the current issue, most have a "rolling wall" that excludes content from the last several years of publication. Virginia Tech does not subscribe to every JSTOR package; some ejournals are not accessible through our subscription.
- Subject GuidesLists of specialized and recommended databases and resources for each subject area. Look here to find more resources for your topic.
- Philosopher's Index from EBSCOhostThe Philosopher's Index indexes citations and abstracts from journal articles, books, chapters/essays, book reviews in the fields of philosophy, aesthetics, metaphysics, social philosophy, and axiology. You can limit to peer-reviewed sources. 1940-present.
- PhilPapersPhilPapers indexes citations and full text of journal articles, books, personal web sites, and open access archives in philosophy.