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HU 2100 Introduction to Humanities

Library resources to HU 2100.

Search Tips

Keyword vs. Subject Searches – Differences and Advantages

Keyword Searches

  • Broad – searches the entire document for a match
  • Uses any terms you feel best describes your topic (Hint: to find keywords, write a sentence that describes what your topic is.  Underline just the keywords in the sentence.  Use those words in your search.)
  • Can result in too many, too few or irrelevant articles.
  • Can be used to identify subject headings.

Subject Searches

  • Narrow – searches only the subject field in the document record.
  • Subjects are assigned to a document from a list to provide consistency.  This is referred to a controlled vocabulary. Each database has their own controlled vocabulary.
  • Results are fewer and more relevant to your topic.

TIP: Use both keyword and subject searches for better results.

  • Start with a keyword search.
  • Review the results for a relevant document and check for subject headings that are suitable to your topic. (HINT: Subject headings can also be called “descriptors” or “terms”.)
  • Now try another search using the subject heading.
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