UMGC Library

Health and Medicine: Search Tips

A Library Research Guide

Search Tips for Health and Medicine

How do I choose keywords for my searches?

  • Words to include
    For a research topic, you would want to include, at the very least, the topic you are researching.
  • Use quotation marks
    If the topic is longer than one word, you can optimize your search by putting quotation marks around the title. Using quotation marks will ensure that the database finds results that use that exact phrase.  
  • Use AND
    To search for both the topic and an aspect of that topic together, you need to link your search terms with AND. This strategy will narrow your search. 
children AND "fast food"

Found too many results?

  • Add more keywords
    If you find that you are retrieving too many results, try adding more keywords to further narrow your topic.
children AND "fast food" AND obesity

Found too few results?

  • Use OR
    If you are searching for a concept that is not well researched or if you have a concept which has many synonyms you can try broadening your search by using OR to link your terms. This strategy will broaden your search because it will return results that mention either children OR kid OR youth
children OR kid OR youth


  • Look for more general information 
    If you are still having trouble finding enough information, try looking for more general information about traits typical of your particular research topic.

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