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ENG 112: Impacts of COVID-19 (Nayak-LO)

Resources to help students analyze various aspects of the situation that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. Direct comments to

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Article Databases

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Search Tips

Once you have your research question or research topic, what strategies should you use to get the most relevant results in the shortest amount of time? Let's say this is your thesis statement:

Social media promotes anxiety among teenagers.

First, identify the key concepts. These are the most important concepts in the statement. Typically these are nouns.

Social media promotes anxiety among teenagers.

Next, you want to identify related terms for each of the key concepts. Different authors may write about the same subjects using different terms, so cast a wide net and add lots of words to your list.

(Note: adding an asterisk* at the end of a word tells the database to look for expanded versions of that word; for example, teen* will automatically search for teen, teens, teenage, teenager, and teenagers.)


Social media




Social networks





young adult*




To take it to the next level: Try "nesting" multiple key words within one search. For example:

("Social media" OR Facebook OR "Social network*") AND (anxiety OR stress) AND (teen* OR adolescent*)

This tells the database: Find me sources that have at least one of the terms representing each of my three key concepts.

Remember that research is an iterative process: What you learn during a search can inform your next search. Your initial ideas for a thesis statement may look very different from your final thesis statement, because of what you've learned during your research.