VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Drugs and Alcohol: Open Access

The Next Step

Once you identify the most relevant keywords, you'll need to link them together in specific ways to target what you need. Click here to learn more:

Selecting keywords

Be brief and specific. Use only key concepts (keywords) that reflect exactly what you need. Here are examples:

1)      What treatment options are available for fetal alcohol syndrome?

1st, think of alternative phrases like:

  • fetal alcohol syndrome
  • alcohol-exposed pregnancies
  • prenatal alcohol exposure

Combine any of these phrases with the term treatment. For example:

prenatal alcohol exposure  treatment

2)      What can be done to reduce fetal alcohol syndrome? Because the question is about a reduction of the problem add the term prevention to one or more of the phrases above. For example:

fetal alcohol syndrome  prevention

3)      What are the most effective treatments for fetal alcohol syndrome? 

To answer questions about treatment effectiveness use keywords that refer to study types. Try several search options:

fetal alcohol syndrome randomized controlled trial

prenatal alcohol exposure systematic review

Specific keywords

To target specific types of information on your topic, try a variety of relevant keywords:

4) What about the scope & magnitude of the problem?

epidemiology  

incidence   

prevalence  

statistics  

trends

5)  What are the causes, correlates, harms?

comorbidity 

etiology

prognosis 

prospective cohort study  

retrospective cohort study

protective factors  

risk factors  

6) What about the diagnosis of the problem?

diagnosis  

diagnostic criteria  

evaluation  

screening

7) Is there evidence for treatment/ intervention effectiveness?

randomized controlled trial 

clinical trial  

control group

experimental design

quasi-experimental