KEYWORDS are the parts of a research question/topic/statement that carry the most meaning. They specify what it is exactly that you are interested in researching.
Is your topic too broad? Be specific! What do you want the program to do? Why do you want the program? Who is your target audience?
Is your topic too narrow? Take away some of those specifics without compromising the topic's core.
Using keywords to narrow or broaden your search results:
As shown in the video, brainstorming synonyms of the keywords in your research question is the best way to develop more keywords. More keywords that still relate to one another = more chances of catching the information you need when searching a database, catalog, or even the internet.
Can't think of any synonyms? Try looking up the word in a thesaurus. Just be careful to only take note of synonyms that still share the same meaning with your original keyword.
Example: Your research topic involves LGBTQ rights. When you look up "rights" in a thesaurus, you see words like: privileges, civil rights, human rights, truths, honesties, moralities. The first three words sound close to what we mean by the term "rights," while the last three do not.
Find the Thesaurus tool in Microsoft Word by going to the Review tab. Click on the word you want to look up a synonym for, then hit the Thesaurus button. A tool will open up on the right side of the screen. You can also find this tool by right-clicking a word in your document.
Or, go to the website Thesaurus.com (link below) to look up words outside of a Word document.
What can colleges do to promote recycling on campus?
promote recycling campus
advocate sustainability schools
encourage waste reduction colleges