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 synonyms 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 and adaptable in your thinking.
- Use a thesaurus to help generate synonyms.
Keywords in Art
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: American Modernism, American Regionalism, Modern Art, Modernism, Naturalism, Regionalism, Social Realism, Surrealism
- Name: Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Marsden Hartley, Margot Peet, Edna Reindel, Grant Wood
- Title: Achelous and Hercules, Baptism in Kansas, Parade to War
- Medium: charcoal, chalk, ink, oil painting, pastel, watercolor
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/phrases must be present; helps limit the search.
- "John Steuart Curry" AND "mural cycles"
- "Thomas Hart Benton" AND illustration AND "Mark Twain"
- OR = Great for synonyms or variations of the same concept; helps broaden the search while staying within the subject area.
- "John Steuart Curry" OR "John S. Curry"
- "Margot Peet" OR "Marguere Munger Peet"
- painting AND (Regionalism OR "American Regionalism")
- NOT = Exclude an unrelated term, or to weed out irrelevant results.
- ("Thomas Hart Benton" AND "book illustration") NOT "book review"