Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas University

ACCTG 642 - Accounting Research


Kendra Spahr
203 Hale Library
Manhattan, KS
(785) 532-2164

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Developing your research topic and keywords

Start your research early! Starting early will give you time to search on your own, Ask A Librarian for guidance, and go back to your instructor if you need to refine your topic.  Adjusting your topic sometimes happens as you write and gather information. 

Good keywords are essential to good research. It is a good idea to come up with a list of keywords as you start planning your research topic.
Two simple questions can help get you started:

  1. What do I know about my topic?
  2. What do I want to know about my topic?

List out the answers to those questions using single words or simple phrases. These will become your keywords.  Be prepared to change these words as you do your research. You may discover other words to use instead of the words in your first list. Think of synonyms of the keywords on your list.  Databases are literal in their understanding so they need to know every possible word.

When doing your research, you may get so many results you don't know what to do ... that's when you need to narrow your topic.  Is there something more specific about your topic that you can use as a keyword?  Also if you aren't finding enough information, broaden your topic, take a step back and determine broader keywords.

Do you need help getting started? Contact your librarian, her information is in the left column. You can also contact Ask a Librarian for help.