Research: Apparel & Sustainability
When researching your topic on the apparel and textiles industry related to sustainability, consider the following when building your list of keywords:
- Brainstorm terms based on what you would like to see in the perfect article.
- Consider synonyms for key terms or any terms that are interchangeable.
- As you research, identify search terms that give you confidence in the author's expertise.
- Terms common to the industry: apparel, textiles, clothing, fashion, garment
- Descriptive terms: "high fashion", designer, luxury, high-end, "haute couture"
- Specific types of apparel or accessories: handbag, purse, clutch, shoulder bag, totes, satchels, "crossbody bag"
- Terms related to sustainability: sustainable, re-use, recycle, re-purpose, eco-, ecological, green, renewable
Advice: Keywords and Synonyms
- Because good keywords are essential to good research.
- The more keywords you can think of, the more likely you will find what you are looking for.
Synonyms make your list of keywords longer. More keywords = better searching = more results. Look at the example below to get an idea of how synoyms can broaden your understanding of a given concept:
- Make lists of keywords for the main concepts of your research topic.
- Use single words or simple phrases.
- Be prepared that this may all change as you learn more information through your research.
- Be flexible, be adaptable in your thinking.
- Use a thesaurus to help generate synonyms.
Many library resources offer the option to combine your keywords using AND, OR, & NOT. This can also be useful when searching online.
- AND = all words must be present, helps limit the search
- Marseille AND fashion AND history
- "cotton production" AND "environmental impacts"
- OR = great for synonyms, helps broaden the search while staying within the subject area
- Ready-to-wear OR prêt-à-porter
- NOT = exclude an unrelated term, or to weed out irrelevant results
- "luxury apparel" AND Hermès NOT Greek NOT spacecraft
- Another example:
- (counterfeit OR fake OR knockoff) AND (handbag OR purse)
- Bangladesh AND ("readymade garment" OR RMG) AND ("worker safety" OR "human rights")
Video: Finding Keywords for Your Topic
This brief video (0:59) from the University Library at UNC Greensboro demonstrates how to turn your research question into useful keywords.
If you would like more practice with keywords, check out the rest of their tutorial!
PATH: Lighting Your Way From Research to Writing (UNCG Libraries) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Closed captioning added by K-State Libraries.