Some "alternative keywords" (such as "public opinion," "attitudes," and "beliefs" in the example above) are obvious. Others, especially subject headings and other technical terms, may not be. When you are building and expanding your lists of synonyms, be encouraged to use the tools available in online resources.
Subject Headings can often turn up far more plentiful and relevant results than mere keywords can. Subject Headings are created by authors, publishers, and catalogers in order to describe the main subjects of a given book or resource. A couple ways to find good subject headings are:
- WorldCat Discovery - find a highly relevant book, click on the book record, click on the Description drop down, and then scroll down to see a list of Subjects. These are linked so that you can run quick single subject-searches in WorldCat Discovery to check results. Even better would be to gather the Subject Headings and fit them into a broader search strategy.
- Library of Congress Subject Authority Search. This searchable index of subject headings.
Another way to find subject headings, and other technical terms, is to use the Thesaurus tools found in many databases, such as those hosted in Ebsco or ProQuest. To find the link to the database Thesaurus, select a particular database to search, then click on Advanced or Command Line search, and a link to the Thesaurus should appear on the page. You can then
For example, when you find a highly relevant book in the catalog (WorldCat Discovery), click on the book record, These Subject Headings can often turn up far more, both in terms of quantity and relevance, than mere keywords can.