Getting started with research is sometimes the hardest part! Most likely, you'll have to do some pre-search to figure out exactly what your research topic is going to be. For your pre-search, I recommend spending some time exploring your topic(s) of interest, looking at:
Encyclopedias & other Reference Resources
Step #1 Keywords
Keywords are the words that 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 has the college application process for high school students been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Step #2 Connecting Keywords
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.
Search Strategy for Databases
Watch this short video for tips on how to conduct database searches!