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Start Your Research - A Self-Guided Tutorial

A tutorial to take you through the research process.

3 - Subject Headings

Differences Between Subject and Keyword Searches

Keyword Searching Subject Heading Searching
Good for obscure or contemporary topics Good for general and universal topics
Use common or informal language Use formal, academic, or discipline-specific language
Can generate many irrelevant results Lists highly relevant results for each topic
Can use any term to describe topic to find relevant information Need to know specific subject heading or vocabulary to search in subject heading list
Will search for keyword in any field Will only search in subject heading or descriptor field