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PHIL 1500-001: Reading, Writing and Reasoning (Thomas-Smith): Develop Keywords

Keywords in Philosophy

Good Keywords are essential for finding good resources. How can you develop them?


Every database has its own set of keywords. For successful searching, try to make

sure your keywords match those of the database.



Controversial topics need special treatment in your keywords. Avoid words that are inherently biased

(e.g. "pro-choice" or "pro-life"), or use a variety of terms to find complete coverage (e.g. "right to die" and "euthanasia").

Combine Search Words

AND  link words by AND to search for all words in the same resource

OR  link words by OR to search for one word or another (instead of both/all words)

NOT  to eliminate results with a certain term

“Quotations” – add quotations to a group of two or more words to search for the exact phrase 

Philosophy Librarian

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Frederick Carey
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