ID 245 - Interior Design Studio 2

This class guide supports research for the Spring 2020 session of ID245.

Library Research Guide

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 synonyms can broaden your understanding of a given concept.:

image of 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 and adaptable in your thinking.
  • Use a thesaurus to help generate synonyms.

Keywords in Design

Consider the following when building your list of keywords.:

  • Brainstorm terms based on what words you hope to find in the perfect article.
  • Consider synonyms for key terms or any terms that are interchangeable.
  • What terminology suggests to you that the author knows what they're talking about?
    • Movements: Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, Rococo
    • Name: Elsie de Wolfe, Steven Holl, Frank Lloyd Wright, Isamu Noguchi, Philippe Starck

Design Search Examples

Many library resources offer the option to combine your keywords using AND, OR, & NOT.  This can also be useful when searching online.  Use quotation marks to search for a name or phrase.

  • AND = All words must be present; helps limit the search.
    • "Steven Holl" AND "Chapel of St. Ignatius"
    • Gensler AND Etsy AND Brooklyn AND sustainable
    • "Dorothy Draper" AND "Metropolitan" AND restaurant
  • OR = Great for synonyms or variations of the same concept; helps broaden the search while staying within the subject area.
    • "St. Ignatius" OR "Saint Ignatius" 
    • "Château de Versailles" OR "Palace of Versailles"
    • "Seattle Central Library Branch" OR "Seattle Public Library"
  • NOT = Exclude an unrelated term, or to weed out irrelevant results.
    • "Lois Weinthal" NOT "book review"
  • Additional examples:
    • history AND ("universal design" OR "inclusive design")
    • "International Living Future Institute" AND ("Zero Energy" OR "Zero Carbon")