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Social Determinants of Health

This guide is intended for students in the GNED 139 Transculltural Health course as well as other students who need Library resources and information on the social determinants of health.

Search Tips

Keyword Searching Tips

Before entering keywords in the search box, it is useful to write down several words that best describe your research topic. Use a thesaurus if necessary to generate more words.

Descriptive words can then be connected by using words such as AND and OR to form meaningful search statements.

Connecting Words/Boolean Logic

AND Narrows a search by joining keywords so to find articles and other documents that contain both of the keywords (e.g. poverty AND health).

OR Broadens a search. Will find articles that contain at least one of these keywords (e.g. poverty OR low income).

NOT Narrows a search by excluding a term. NOT connector will find articles that contain the first keyword but not the second keyword (e.g. Canadian NOT Amercian).

Other Tips

"Quotation marks"

Quotation marks are used to search keywords that are a complete phrase (e.g. "public health").


Keywords within parentheses will be searched as a single unit within the search statement e.g. (poverty OR low income) AND health


When a keyword is truncated, the ending of the word is removed and replaced with a truncation symbol, usually an asterisk (*). A truncated keyword search will find articles with all instances of the root word and the root word combined with any possible ending (for example, Canad*  - this will find Canada or Canadian or Canadians).

Example: Developing Keywords and Constructing a Search

Step 1. Describe your Topic
Discuss the impact of poverty on health status in Canada.
Step 2: Identify keywords for your topic.
Main Concept 1 Concept 2          Concept 3       
poverty health Canada
Step 3: Find synonyms 
Main Concept 1 Concept 2          Concept 3       
poverty health Canad* 
low income wellbeing Ontario
income status    
Step 4: Build a search 
Main Concept 1 Concept 2          Concept 3       

(poverty OR "low income" OR "income status")  AND (health OR wellbeing) AND (Canad* OR Ontario)

Strategic Searching

Use simple keywords when searching the Library databases

(poverty OR "low income" OR "income status") 

AND  "food insecurity"

AND (Canad* OR Ontario)

see below for more information




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