Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas University

AT 245 - Apparel and Textile Industry

This class guide supports student library research for the Fall 2017 session of AT 245.

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.
  • What terms would be acceptable to you?  If they were to appear in an article, what terms would indicate to you that the author knows what they're talking about?
    • Broad 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
    • Terms related to sustainability: sustainable, re-use, recycle, re-purpose, eco-, ecological, green, renewable

Advice: Keywords and Synonyms

Why Keywords?

  • 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.

Why Synonyms?

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:

a synonym word map

Our advice: 

  • 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.

Search Examples

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
  • 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
    • Hermès NOT Greek  NOT spacecraft
  • Another example:
    • (counterfeit OR fake) AND (apparel OR fashion OR clothing)

Finding Keywords for Your Topic

This brief video (0:59) from the University Library at UNC Greensboro explains how to turn your research question into useful keywords. Transcript.

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