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Team Internship Program -- Vital Medical Services

Use this guide to help you find relevant, reliable, and useful sources to respond to your specific team business challenge project.

Your Business Challenge

  • Business Challenge: How can Vital Medical Services expand opportunities to offer mental health services to K-12 schools, particularly in traditionally underserved communities?

Breaking Down Your Challenge

Understanding the Context

  • What do you already know about your research challenge?
  • What do you need to know or understand? 
  • What are the major concepts of your research challenge? 
    • Concept 1
    • Concept 2
    • Concept 3
  • What are some similar terms for each of the concepts above? Why might it be important to come up with similar terms for your major concepts of your research challenge?

Icons on this page are created by Sharon Showalter from the Nounproject.

Effective Searching Using Keywords

Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)

  • Use AND to connect keywords and look for both terms together. Example: aerospace AND graduates
  • Use OR to include synonyms or similar keywords. Great for when you don't know what word to use yet. Example: college OR university
  • Use NOT to exclude topics or subjects that are not relevant to your search. Example: 

McMasters Libraries: How Library Stuff Works Boolean Operators (AND OR NOT) Youtube Video

Modifiers (*, (), " ")

  • Use quotation marks or "" to look for a specific phrase or term in that order. Example: "mental health services" will give results only including this exact phrase.
  • Use wildcard or * to broaden a keyword to its many forms. Example: minorit* would include minority, minorities, and minoritized in the results.
  • Use brackets or parentheses or () to tell the search engine the order you want to search. Example: (adolescent* OR youth OR teen*) AND "mental health services" would look first at any results with the term adolescent, adolescents OR the terms youth OR the terms teen, teens, teenagers then it would look for anything that also had the term "mental health services" in the same results.

Sample Searches for Context

Effective searching for background and contextual information begins with 3 key parts:

  1. Keywords, phrases, and terms that connect to your main idea
  2. Boolean operators and modifiers that help you broaden and/or narrow your results
  3. Most relevant location or database for searching. That is, is Google Scholar appropriate for searching or a library database or both?


I want to start looking at how businesses like Vital Medical Services provide mental health services to K-12 school populations that have been underserved. My keywords are:

  • "mental health services" OR "mental health assessment". I don't know which works best yet so I use OR to look for both
  • school*. I don't know what version of this word I need so I use the wildcard modifier
  • maybe: "mental health services" OR "school-based" OR "mental health intervention". I need another word here to narrow my search further.

I will use this phrase in Google because I want to see if there's online references from Black affinity groups, aerospace organizations, and scholarly articles. I will also use this in the library's Proquest database to see if there are any literature reviews or studies about this topic:

("mental health services" OR "mental health assessment") AND school* AND (child* OR youth OR teen* OR adolescent*)

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