Keyword searching is another strategy to search for information once a database or search engine is reached. The only setback is keyword searching searches literally every word you type into a search box. This means with this type of searching, the researcher is likely to get invalid or non-useful information. As a more challenging way of researching, you may have difficulty getting to a direct aim. Usually researchers using keywords either have too narrow of a topic, thus searching more words. Also they are used if your research topic intervenes disciplines. Keyword searching brings you to a lot of options, but this does not mean these options are valuable or useful.
After determining what search engine you will utilize, you come to realize that you are not getting the information you need. A part of finding of credible sources is figuring out how to search for valuable information. Thankfully, search engines are created with this in mind.
The terminology you enter into a search engine is what will dictate the type of results you yield. For example, by entering Civil War into a search engine, you will most likely end up with results about the American Civil War, but what if you were searching for the Byzitiyne Civil War, the current Yemeni Civil War, or Captain America: Civil War? This is what keywords are used for. Keywords, to its detriment and advantage, will literally search for the words you input into a search engine. In order to help narrow the search, you must use more specific terminology. However, this will also start to diminish the amount of useful results you receive. Keyword searching provides a lot of options, but this does not mean these options are valuable or useful.
Search engines may also utilize controlled vocabularies. Controlled vocabularies are a fixed version of searching that has been created by people. Fixed searching means you cannot control or change the subject terms provided by a database. What this means is say you are doing a paper on Euthanasia. You type in “mercy killing” and come across 5 different book options: Terminal Choices, Choosing Life or Death, The Practice of Death, and The Right to Die. All of these books fall under the category term of Euthanasia, so you could just choose this category as a controlled vocabulary instead of trial-and-error searching. This would get you to actual Euthanasia specified works. This would bring you to various options. Controlled vocabularies are done to help researchers have better aim when searching for material or information. Created by The Library of Congress, subject terms are provided by database systems. Controlled vocabularies are not as flexible as keywords, but they tell you what the data is actually about.
Learning to properly use keywords or by having a system with a controlled vocabulary is key in finding the most applicable and credible resources.
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