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Introduction to Sociology (Wayne): Home

The University of Akron Wayne College Library

Brainstorming Key Terms and Variations


Take some time to think about your key terms and how they may appear in a database's search results.

*Learn more about Brainstorming on our Tools for Brainstorming LibGuide.

Brainstorm your key terms and consider:

  • Synonyms or terms that mean the same thing.  Think of all of the ways the concept may be written about in the literature.
  • Word endings and word variations.  Databases may need you to enter terms using truncation or wildcard characters in order to retrieve these variations.


  • Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphia

  • Youth: children, young adults, teens, teenagers, adolescents

Search Strategies

Develop an online search strategy using appropriate Boolean operators, proximity operators, and truncation / wildcard characters.  

  • (social media or Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat or TikTok) and (teen* or adolescen* or youth) and (bully* or cyberbully* or harass*)
  • (race or racial) and segregat* and (city or cities or urban* or neighborhood*)


Many Ebsco databases include the expander "Apply Equivalent Subjects" that are automatically selected by default when performing unqualified keyword searches.  This may be helpful with relevancy of results and discovery of terms in the established subject headings in the controlled vocabulary.


UA Libraries Catalog:

If you want to locate books or ebooks, search the UA Libraries Catalog.  

Research Databases:

To locate articles from newspapers, articles, and journals, search any of the following research databases:


Don't forget about documentaries and films!  You might consider performing an advanced search in the UA Libraries Catalog and limiting the material type to video, or consider searching these streaming services:

Searching Multiple Ebsco Databases

1) Start out in one of our subscription databases provided by the vendor, Ebsco. 

For example, start out in Academic Search Complete.  Above the search box, located the link for "Choose Databases."

Screenshot from Academic Search Complete pointing to the "choose databases" link


2) Select any of the Ebsco databases you would like to search simultaneously.  Then click on "OK"

List of ebsco databases with Academic Search complete and Medline selected from the list.


3) Confirm your selected databases by selecting the "Show all" link above the search box:

Screen shot of Academic Search Complete pointing to link for "Show All" to list all databases being searched.


4) Review the databases listed and make any changes by selecting the "Choose Databases" link again:

Ebsco search box with four databases listed above: academic search complete, medline, psycinfo, and the psychological and behavioral sciences collection listed


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Maureen Lerch
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Citing Your Sources

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