Keyword v. Subject Searching

Research Question: Cyberspace is open and protected. How do you achieve both?

Keywords: information security, cybercrime, cyber law, virtual space, global web regulation, cyber privacy

Subject Headings: data protection, data security, computer security, internet and privacy, information security, computer crimes

Keyword searching simply involves users typing specific words and phrases as search terms in a database. This method uses one’s natural language. Subject searching, on the other hand, uses words or phrases predefined by the database to describe the content of a particular article. Users simply click the subject heading to access articles. Keyword searching allows users to combine terms in any number of ways while subject headings are not flexible. I noticed that my keyword searches either yielded too many results or hardly any results at all. A lot of the results were irrelevant. Subject searches yielded a more manageable number of results which were much more relevant to my research question. Keyword searching is a good way to start research. It may yield a good article or two, but if it does not, it will always lead users to relevant subject headings. The subject headings will lead to more refined and relevant search results.