In library databases use key search terms that express the most important concepts related to your topic.
The more terms you use the fewer results you get, so be selective.
Example: A search like impact of gender on people's salary expectations will get far fewer results than gender AND salary AND expectations.
Browse the Databases: Getting Started Page, which lists multidisciplinary electronic resources that are good for finding a variety of information. Try one! Wikipedia may also provide basic information about your topic (e.g. keywords, people's names, or place names). Once you have your key search words, try them in various combinations in the library's research databases.
Example, an article about salary may not use that word, so try terms like wages, pay, income, or earnings. Searching for all of those terms together with OR between them (example: gender OR pay OR wages OR income OR earnings) tells the search engine to find at least one of the terms in your search results.
The Credo Reference Mind Map tool helps you find keywords that are broader or narrower than your concept, which might also yield more results. In Credo, select "Mind Map" from the dropdown menu in the search bar:
Here is an example of the mind map tool for the keyword Surrealism:
Sherrill Library | Lesley University, Brattle Campus | 89 Brattle Street - Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-349-8850
John & Carol Moriarty Library | Lesley University, Porter Campus | 1801 Massachusetts Avenue - Cambridge, MA 02140 | 617-349-8070