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International Students Guide

This is a guide to provide Information and Resources for ODU International students.

Basic Search Techniques

Pre- Search

Getting started with research is sometimes the most challenging part! You'll most likely have to do some pre-search to determine precisely your research topic. For your pre-search, I recommend spending some time exploring your topic(s) of interest, looking at:

  • Websites
  • Books
  • Encyclopedias & other Reference Resources

Step #1 Keywords

Keywords are the words you type into the search box to find resources about your topic. What are the most important words in your research question? Think of synonyms for those words.

Example: How does exercise impact the mental health of college students?

Practice: Brainstorm possible keywords for this topic:

How do mentorship programs for new teachers impact have on teacher retention?

Step #2 Connecting Words

After you have decided on your keywords, you'll need to tell the database how they should be connected.


"college students" AND exercise

Will find resources that have both college students and exercise as keywords.


"college students" OR undergraduates

Will find resources about college students OR undergraduates.


"public university" NOT "private university"

Will find resources about college students at public universities NOT private

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