Skip to Main Content


Located in the Student Achievement Center on the Youngwood Campus

Keyword Searching

  • Keywords, also called search terms, are words that you enter into a database searchbox. 
  • Don't give up after one search! It may take several searches to determine which keywords work best for your topic.
  • Library databases look for the exact words that you enter in the searchbox.
  • As you type in words, you will be offered a choice of popular terms below the searchbox.
  • Systems are usually set to find all your search terms and automatically add the word AND in between them.
  • Keep your phrase together by using quotes, for example "social media"

Examples of Keywords

          Thesis: Should social media companies selectively censor what people post?

          Keywords: "social media"

           Thesis: Should smoking be banned in all public places?

           Keywords: "secondhand smoke"
                             "passive smoking"
                             "smoking bans"


Truncation allows you to search any ending on a root word.

For example, if your topic includes the word vaccine, then you may also want to search:

  • vaccine
  • vaccines
  • vaccination

To truncate and search the root word vaccine with any ending type: vaccin*

Use truncation carefully. For example, vac* would return results about vacations or vacuum cleaners!

Westmoreland County Community College Library - Student Achievement Center, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697
Phone: 724-925-4100 | | Library Hours | D2L | FAQs
Link broken? Information need updating? Have website feedback? Please email