The keyword search will produce more results than the subject search, but some (or many) of these results may be irrelevant. Nevertheless, it is frequently useful to begin your search with a keyword. If you find an article that is relevant to your search, then you can use this article's subject terms to locate other articles that more precisely match your research topic.
In addition, if you find an appropriate article, use this article's citations to find other articles.
Experiment with different keywords.
Use a number of different databases.
Search for everything that is available, not just the full text that is available in one particular database.
Use the Boolean operators:
Using AND searches and retrieves articles that contain both terms (for example, both stress and anxiety).
Using OR searches and retrieves articles that contain either term (for example, stress or anxiety).
Using NOT searches and retrieves one term not the other (for example, stress not anxiety).
Psychology majors may wish to use the controlled or standard vocabulary from the book Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms.
Library and database classification systems usually group items (books and articles) in a hierarchical fashion, starting from the most specific and proceeding up the ladder of abstraction to the most general. If your search produces too few results, your search term may be too specific. If your search produces too many results, your search term is probably too broad. Experiment with different search terms in an attempt to find the level of abstraction that produces the greatest number of relevant results for the topic you are searching. For example, if you are interested in researching the type of dog referred to as a "collie", instead of using the proper name "Lassie", which is too specific, or instead of using the class noun "dog", which is too broad, use the word "collie." You may also use the Boolean operators to help narrow or broaden your results list. For example, adding the term speech to the search term anxiety using the Boolean connector and will retrieve items only if they contain both the words speech and anxiety. Searching the terms speech and anxiety together will thus produce far fewer results than searching either term alone. Using the Boolean operator or will help produce more results, and using the Boolean operator not will help produce fewer results.