GEO 4953/5603: Physical Hydrogeology (Datta)

Using Keywords: Why, What, & How

Keywords:  what you type is what you get from a database:

  • Why:  When it comes to searching for relevant articles on a topic of interest, you cannot type a whole sentence into a search box but a few keywords.
  • What:  Keywords – the words that can significantly, best describe your topic of interest.  
  • Number of keywords – In order to get the better results -  in terms of relevancy and manageable number of results generated -, always try to control the number of your keywords/concepts for the topic, no more than 3-4 keywords or concepts are preferable.  
  • How to combine keywords:
    • To combine keywords in different concepts, using AND
      • evaporation AND water AND cycle AND ground 
    • To combine similar keywords or synonyms, using OR  
      • e.g.: evaporation OR vapor OR transpiration 
    • Using a sybmoc called asterisk (*) as truncation character  or wildcards to retrieves variations of the search term
      • Farm* >-  will find: farm, farms, farmer, farming
      • Hydr*  >-  will find: Hydraulics OR Hydrogeology OR Hydrogeochemistry OR hydrology

Examples of Using AND, OR, Quotation Mark

Using: AND

  • evaporation AND water 
  • evaporation AND water AND cycle AND ground 
  • evaporation AND cycle AND "ground water" 

Using "Quotation Mark" to force a phrase search: 

  • "ground water flow" 
  • "ground-water flow"  
  • "groundwater flow"

Using: OR:

  • "ground water flow" OR "ground-water flow" OR "groundwater flow"
  • Using OR to lead to more results, as long as one of them can be found 

Put all-in-one: Combination of ANDOR, with Content-related Fields -- Subject field/SU and Title/TI fields -- to get the optimal, more precise search results 

  • Search Statement:  TI(evaporation OR vapor OR transpiration) AND su(ground) AND su(water) AND su(flow)
    • Including the following elements:
    • TI(evaporation OR vapor OR transpiration)
    • AND SU(ground)
    • AND SU(water)
    • AND SU(flow)
  • Results and Comparison:


How to Find Relevant Keywords / Terminologies for Your Topics?

How to find topics or useful keywords? 

  • Figure out your keywords from your topic interest/focus, textbook, or even from quick-and-dirty searching literature in your field
  • From your Course Syllabus, e.g.:
    • water cycle
    • evaporation,
    • condensation,
    • precipitation,
    • runoff, surface runoff
    • stream flow,
    • percolation, 
    • groundwater flow
    • pollution control,
    • environmental rehabilitation,
    • transpiration, infiltration, ground-water flow, and streamflow ......
  • Searching the Thesaurus within Specifc databases to find out widely-used terms by authors or experts: