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Library Research for Writing Assignments: A Quick Guide

Learn to find, read, and use database articles for a writing assignment.

Understanding Your Assignment and Developing Search Terms

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Choosing good search terms will help you find the information you need!



Find 2-3 articles using two different library databases to find information about stress and it's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional impacts.

  • Main Topic - stress
  • Subtopics - physical, cognitive, social, emotional impacts

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Base your search terms on the Main Topic and Subtopics identified in your assignment.  Because different authors use different terms think beyond the words listed in the assignment to find other words that mean the same thing. Create a list in your notebook:

  • Stress - physical and mental pressure, tension, hardship, strain
  • Physical - body, muscles, heart, cardiovascular, stomach, gastrointestinal
  • Cognitive (psychological) - mental, in the mind, subconscious, unconscious
  • Social - people, community, group, interactive
  • Emotion/al - feelings (anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, etc.)

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NOTE: As you read your research articles notice other relevant terms that may appear and jot them down.

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