Library Research Guide
Good keywords are essential to good research. It is a good idea to come up with a list of keywords before you even start researching.
Two simple questions can 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. Using synonyms and related terms/phrases is also an important element of this process. See the video below for more.
Here are some strategies for keyword selection. Once you've identified your topic, it will be necessary to break down concepts within the topic into keywords that can be used to search for sources.
• Good keywords are essential to quality 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.
Synonyms: Temperament, Demeanor, Conduct, Bearing, Etiquette, Comportment, Attitude, etc.
• 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 be adaptable in your thinking.
• Use a thesaurus to help generate synonyms.