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Integrative Wellness & Meditation

Picking a Topic & Identifying Search Terms

The very first step in the research and writing process is picking your topic. You will want to select a topic that is narrow enough to fit within your assignment but still broad enough that you will be able to find relevant materials on the topic. You may find the video below useful in defining a topic.



Remember that even after you have picked your topic and started your research, you can still further refine your topic along the way. If you are finding too many resources or have too much that you want to write, you may want to consider narrowing your topic. What sub-topic or theme might you focus on?

If you are finding that there are no materials on a topic or you don't have enough that you want to say on the topic, consider broadening your topic. Is there another topic you could compare and contrast it with? Is there another aspect of the topic that you could also cover in your project? Is your topic a sub-theme under a larger topic that might be better suited for your project?

Developing Keywords & Search Terms

Scrabble tiles spelling the word keywords

Once you have a topic, you will want to start thinking about how to boil it down into usable keywords and how to turn these keywords into successful searches in databases. For any searchable resource the recommended search terms will vary by your topic. 


Here are some tips that can help you to develop and refine your search terms:

  • Consider synonyms (i.e., clothing, clothes, garments, attire, costume). You might even want to refer to a thesaurus to see what synonyms it lists for your search terms.
  • Consider broader and more narrow categories. If you are looking for information about boots, you might want to consider searches for footwear and accessories as well.
  • Look at the suggested search terms in OneSearch, Google Scholar, and databases. Often these resources will provide suggested alternative search terms that can be useful.
  • As you start reading abstracts, articles, or books, write down any terms that you see that might be useful to explore further.
  • Consider alternate forms of your search terms and even alternate spellings. For example, color versus colour. Many tools will include both spellings, but sometimes running the search both ways can be useful.

Some search terms to consider when doing meditation research are: meditation, mindfulness, stress, relaxation, reflection, contemplation. You can also search for specific disciplines (i.e., yoga, transcendental, Buddhist) in many of these resources.

Integrative Health brings together both what are often known as "conventional" approaches to health and "complementary" approaches to health. As such, search terms related to both of these topics may be relevant. Some search terms to consider when doing integrative health research are: integrative health, complementary health, complementary medicine, alternative medicine, complementary and alternative medicine, CAM, holistic medicine, natural medicine, conventional medicine, and traditional medicine.

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