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Children's and Young Adult Literature

Selected resources for starting your research on children's and young adult literature.


This guide will provide access to resources from the MSU Library as well as other important links to outside resources for those interested in Children's and Young Adult Literature.

Research Best Bets

Research Help

Identifying Keywords

Unlike Google and other web searches, databases work best when you enter keywords instead of full phrases or questions.

Keywords represent the main ideas and concepts in your research topic. Things to remember:

  • Each database can organize the main concepts of your research under different subjects or headings.
  • It is important to brainstorm different words authors may use for your topic.
  • Having alternate search options can keep you from getting stuck when doing research.

Identifying main concepts within your research question/topic.

Research Question: How do high school seniors prepare to take the standardized tests?

Main Concepts: high school seniors, prepare, standardized tests (words like how, do, and, to, etc. are not important)

There are a few types of keywords that you can work with, depending on your topic.

  • Narrow - can you use a more focused word or idea? (ex. SAT instead of Standardized Test)
  • Broad - what is the big picture idea behind your topic? (ex. Education)
  • Related - are there concepts that closely relate to your topic? (ex. ACT, GRE, MCAT)
  • Similar - are there synonyms for your topic/concepts? (ex. assessment, test, exam)

Searching Databases

How do I use the keywords I come up with in the databases?

Keywords can be combined in different combinations within the database to form "search strings" using connecting words like "AND" and "OR". Different keyword combinations will work better depending on the database, so having a list will help you from getting stuck.

  • Using "AND" will narrow your search by only giving you results that include all the words in your search string.
    • Example: SAT "AND" high school seniors would only return results with both keywords in the title, abstract, and subject headings.
  • Using "OR" will broaden your search by giving you search results each search term and the shared results.
    • Example: SAT "OR" Standardized tests will return results including SAT or standardized tests and results that use both terms​

TIP: Use "AND" to connect different concepts from your research question and "OR" to connect keywords for the same concept.

Citation Help