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Human Resources Assignments Guide

Link to Western Library Resources to find basic information related to issues the human resources field.

Create a List of Search Terms (and Alternates) for Your Topic

web search  icon


Figuring out the right search terms is a key part of conducting an effective search whether you are using library databases or searching the web. The process for developing good search terms is the same for both


How do I know what words to enter into a Search Box?

You may be assigned a topic to research or you may be asked to choose your own. Your topic will be your starting point in choosing search terms.note-taking icon

  • Types of search terms: 
    • keywords - a general list words related to your topic.
    • subject searches - words listed or bolded database lists
      • nouns - the names of something or someone -- people, things, places
        •  example - nouns for a topic in psychology: "depression,"  "bipolar disorder," "schizophrenia."
  • Make a list of main search terms 
  • Create a list of alternate search termssynonyms (different words that mean the same thing)
    • WHY? Different authors will use different terms that mean the same thing so If you can't find enough information using one search term, another
    • Consult a Thesaurus to find related or alternative words or synonyms.  

Examples - Search Terms for HR Research

Diversity Unit Assignment:  Search Terms and Alternate Search Terms

  • bias - biases, biased, implicit bias, confirmation bias
  • mental health -  mental illness, mental well-ness, mental well-being
  • religion - religions, religious, religiosity

                  serach icon            Basic Search Terms -  Single Terms and Phrases

  • autism or autism spectrum
  • wage-earner
  • "human resources" 

                serach icon              Advanced Search Strategy - Boolean Search

  • anxiety AND depression
    • finds results with both search terms 
  • autism OR autism spectrum OR autistc
    • finds results for either search terms
  • race NOT running OR driving
    • finds results for issues surrounding racism

                serach icon              Advanced Search Strategy - Truncation

  • rac*
    • finds articles than contain words that begin with the root "rac" - race, racism, racist, racists

Business- Related Terms for HR Research

                serach icon              Human Resources Search Terms and Synonyms

  • human resources - HR, personnel
  • employee -  staff member, laborer, worker, wage-earner
  • job - career, employment, position

                  serach icon            Basic Search Terms -  Single Terms and Phrases

  • employment
  • wage-earner
  • "human resources" 

                serach icon              Advanced Search Strategy - Boolean Search

  • discrimination AND workplace
    • finds results with both search terms (discrimination in the work place)
  • (ADA OR Americans with Disabilities Act) AND workplace
    • finds results for either search term specific to the workplace
  • COBRA NOT snake
    • finds results for COBRA the health insurance program and eliminates results about snakes

                serach icon              Advanced Search Strategy - Truncation

  • Employ*
    • finds articles than begin with the root "employ" - employ, employer, employee, employment, etc.

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