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Research Guides@Tufts

Grad Student Research Toolkit

This guide serves as a toolkit for graduate student research. Helpful links and information on relevant library resources and services can be found here.

Strategic Searching

Whether using JumboSearch, a research database such as PsycInfo, or another search tool such as Google Scholar, there are strategies, techniques, and best practices that will enable you to get the most out of your search. Approaching your search process with a strategy is a great way to find the relevant material more quickly and efficiently.

Generate Keywords

Your keywords are the meaningful, topical terms in your research question. For example: "How can mood disorders affect teens' performance in school?" - keywords are "mood disorders," "teens," and "school performance"

  • Extract the meaningful, topical terms in your research question
  • Brainstorm as many synonyms and related terms, concepts, or ideas as possible
  • Topical reference sources such as encyclopedias and handbooks can be a great help in this process
  • Feel free to use a thesaurus or similar tool to generate more related terms

Combine Keywords for Effective Searches

Certain terms are used to combine your keywords in specific ways in order to retrieve more relevant results. These terms are :

  • AND - NARROWS your search results. Each result will contain ALL of your keywords.
  • OR - BROADENS your search results. Accounts for synonyms and related terms. For example, "teen OR adolescent"
  • NOT - EXCLUDES a term from your search

Boolean Operators