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Use this guide to learn about the research process and plan your research project.

Welcome to the Research Planning Guide

Search Terms

When using the DBU catalog and databases it is best to limit your search to 1-3 powerful keywords. 

To get the best results, you need to think carefully about your topic, then choose words that will get you to the heart of the matter. 

  • Instead of: "How does bird flu spread?"
  • Use these terms: "avian influenza" and "transmission"
  • Instead of: "What is the role of crime in the novel The Great Gatsby?"
  • Use these terms: "crime" and "gatsby"

The key to finding the best articles is to first find the best search terms.  Some databases (especially EBSCO and GALE) make it easy to find the right words for your search.  Look in the toolbar for an option called "Subject Terms," "Thesaurus," or "Subject Guide”. 

  • Example: You want to write about multiculturalism in the “work place”. Try the Subject Search (in EBSCO), and you will find that "Diversity in the Work Place" is a better term.  


  • Additionally, if you find an article you like, you can check out the subject terms for that article to find more related search terms