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UGS 302: The Development of Moral Action / Repp

Brainstorming keywords to discover scholarship

How to search and explore databases

  • Use your assignment prompt for a lot of very valuable keywords to use in the databases. Prof. Repp is using the language of experts in the field - you need to use those same terms to get articles written by experts.
  • Your initial searches will produce many more keywords to use in your searches - record the most promising leads
  • Assemble a list of alternate and related terms within your topic area (ex. religion = church, worship, Qur'an, Sunday school, Catholic schools, etc...)

example in Academic Search Complete (link below):

search moral and dictator game and prosocial or sharing

Why do I separate my keywords on separate lines?

Separating the keywords allows you to be very clear about what you want.

  • It illustrates the importance of narrowing your topic: The term moral can be your main topic, but each line can be a narrower aspect of that larger topic. Switching out terms on each line is important as your searching teaches you more about your topic to explore.
  • You can search by phrase. A single line search will put an invisible AND between every word. In this search, dictator game is searched as a phrase.
  • You can brainstorm alternate keywords if you aren't sure which word to use. In this search, the database will search EITHER word separated by OR (EITHER prosocial OR sharing appears in the results). This makes for a more efficient search.

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