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NSP: Neuroplasticity

Strategies & tips for locating resources for your research projects.

What is a search strategy?

Developing a strong search strategy can save you time when it is time to search for resources.  Rather than doing general searching using Google, we recommend that you search using the library databases.  Searching Google is much different than searching library databases.

One facet of database searching that can be difficult to get used to is subject heading or keyword searches.  Rather than typing a question in and expecting instant results, users need to focus on identifying and using controlled language searches.

Identifying controlled language for subject headings and keywords is beneficial for the savvy researcher.  Controlled language is typically assigned by the Library of Congress and is then used universally (or at least in English) by vendors and publishers when identifying main points and ideas for their books, journals and other publications.

Once the controlled language for your topic is identified, database searching is usually much easier. 

Language used on websites by various entities can often be arbitrary and inconsistent.

Below you will find samples of ways you might think of phrasing your search terms.  You can always visit the Library of Congress Authorities website to search for additional search terms.

Keyword Subject heading


Nervous system AND Growth

Nervous system AND Adaptation

Developmental neurophysiology

Brain science

Mental disorders AND Rehabilitation

Brain AND Diseases AND Treatment​

Brain mapping



Cognitive Neuroscience

Philosophy & Philosophers

Search by last name or known name--can be informal or formal:


Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831 --there are multiple Georg Hegel's, make sure you find the correct one!