Information Literacy Unit — Activity 2

  • Intro Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 Activity 5 Activity 6 Activity 7

    Activity 2:  Keyword Searching


    Be sure you have saved your encyclopedia and/or GVRL articles and works cited information from the previous subject search activity. Make sure that you have received credit from the instructor or librarian.

    Boolean Keyword Search Video:


    Activity 2:  Keyword Searching

    • A keyword search is the most powerful method of searching. It is used when the researcher:
    1. knows specific words related to the topic
    2. requires that the information include those words. 
    • Occasionally, a keyword search may return non-related articles because the keywords have more than one meaning, ex. "cardinals" can mean a bird, a football player, or a high-ranking religious member of the Catholic Church.
    • Keywords may require the use of the logical connectors "or", "and", and "not". These connectors are called Boolean Operators.

    You are now ready to begin your activity

    1. Select two or three keywords to help narrow your topic (one should be your topic or subject). Remember, these words must appear in any research you locate. Write these on your worksheet.
    2. Combine the keywords using logical connectors "and" "or" and "not" as appropriate to the meaning of your search. Circle them on the worksheet.
    3. You now have a search strategy.  Write this strategy on your worksheet.
    4. If your search strategy doesn't work, try other word choices by looking at the databases related subjects or descriptors found while searching. Try looking for other synonyms or related terms. Check your spelling if you get no hits or look for alternative spellings. Sometimes you even have to broaden or narrow the search. When you find your best keyword search, you will find articles appropriate for your research.


    You are now ready to move on to Activity 3:  Online Subscription Databases