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Finding Your Voice (FYS 100): Articles

Journal Locator

Use the Journal Locator when you know the title of a newspaper, magazine, or journal. There is a link to the Journal Locator on the Library's homepage. Click on the tab, "Journals" and go to "Journal Locator"

Perhaps you find this article in the Journal of Voice  in a database:

Lynn Helding MM , Thomas L. Carroll MD , John Nix MM, MME , Michael M. Johns MD , Wendy D. LeBorgne PhD, CCC-SLP , David Meyer MM, DM , COVID-19 After Effects: Concerns for Singers, Journal of Voice (2020), doi:


Identify Main Concepts

Break your topic into concepts (subjects). These concepts will form the building blocks of your search strategy.



  • Databases don't like sentences! 
  • Long phrases or sentences will confuse the database and lead to disappointing or NO results. 
  • Pick out the words that indicate the main points of your topic. 


Example Question:





  • Good research topics usually contain 2-4 concepts. 
  • Topics with one concept will usually retrieve way too many results.
  • Topics with too many concepts may limit your results too much.


Brainstorm for Keywords

The search terms (keywords) you use are extremely important!

  • Keywords are the search terms that you enter into the database to describe each of your concepts.
  • When you search the database, you are usually searching the words in the Title and Abstract, not the full-text article.
  • The Title and Abstract are written by the author of the article. 
  • The database will word-match your keywords against the author's words in the title & abstract and deliver only results that match what you enter.



Databases look for the exact words and phrases you type in, so if the author uses a different word (synonym) to describe a concept, you will not see that article in your results.



For each of your concepts, identify alternative keywords. 

  • Ask yourself, "What other words could the author use to describe this concept?
  • Be careful with phrases. If you search with a phrase, think of alternative ways to describe the phrase and search with that as well. Example: hand washing or handwashing or hand hygeine.
  • Not familiar with a topic? Having trouble thinking of synonyms?  Browse these resources (dictionaries, textbooks, encylopedias) for background information.


Create a master list of alternative words for each of your concepts. 

Use this list as you search the databases.  In addition to synonyms, be creative and think of: 

  • Related Words
  • Spelling Variations (especially American vs British, for example anesthesia or aneasthesia)
  • Acronymns (also spell out the phrase)
  • Brand and generic drug names
  • Plural and Singular variations
  • Narrower Terms
  • Broader Terms



Here is the beginning of a list for our research question--


Does soft drink consumption increase the risk of obesity in children?

Concept 1  Concept 2 Concept 3
Child Soda Obesity
Children Soft Drink Overweight
Adolescent    Pop Body Weight
Juvenile Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Body Mass Index
  Beverages BMI






The Library has 91 databases. Choose the best ones to find articles for your paper.

Academic Search Complete - a multidisciplinary database of more than 8,500 full text periodicals with pdf content going back as far as 1887.

Science Direct - the database has references to many scientific and medical articles.

Sage Online Journals -- references to articles for 40 disciplines