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ENGL 106 - Business Writing - Richards

Identifying Keywords & Related Terms Example

Identifying key concepts and what other words or phrases describe that concept you will get more meaningful results. Here is an example of how you can break down a question into concepts and their related phrases.

How often does eyewitness testimony lead to wrongful convictions? Keywords: eyewitness testimony, wrongful convictions, statistics

Original Phrase Related words or ideas
eyewitness testimony eyewitness identification/misidentification, false testimony, police lineup, eyewitness errors, lineup identification, eyewitness evidence, eyewitness memory
wrongful conviction innocence, false imprisonment, exoneration, false arrest, wrongful incarceration, criminal justice errors
how often statistics, data, history, frequency, extent

Common Limiters

Source Types

Library databases typically search a set of published works, but that doesn't mean those are always the types of publications you want, need, or are allowed to use. You can use the Source Type limiters to tell the database that you only want items from certain types of sources.


In the same way that tells you about a movie but doesn't give you access to the movie itself, the databases might have information to tell you about an item but not access to the item itself. You can tell the database that you only want items that you can access the item itself from that database by clicking on the "full text" limiter.


In some disciplines and for some topics it is important to use current information. You can tell the database to only give you results from a certain time period by limiting to a publication date range.


The subject limiter area is where you will find what tags are associated with the articles in your search results. Because these tags designate an article as being about that topic (rather than just mentioning the word) you can use these tags to tell the database that you only want articles tagged as being about that topic.

Basic Database Searching (HACC Video)

Advanced Database Searching (HACC Video)

HACC Catalog Tutorial