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COMM 100 Thomas: Topic to Keywords

In the research process: Web

1. Identify an arguable topic
(non-library sources)
2. Learn the background (library Discovery tool: books)
3. Discover scholarly conversations (library databases: journal articles)
4. Support your argument (source citation)
5. Rinse, repeat; drafts & revisions (research librarians, writing center)


You may find current information about your topic in websites as these tend to be updated frequently. This is "news," and as the word itself indicates, the information is new. Try to locate news sources from reliable sources such as newspapers or magazines that are well established. 

Example news article:

Topics to keywords

What can colleges do to promote sustainability programs on a campus?

Keywords:  sustainability programs        college       campus    

Synonyms: advocate               recycling               university methods

                  encourage          waste reduction        college           systems


Notice that the key concepts in the research question do not include initial articles or prepositions. Databases are designed to ignore these words. 

Quick poll

Identify the 3 key concepts in this research question: "How do ocean temperatures influence the migration patterns of great white sharks?"
ocean temperatures, influence, great white sharks: 0 votes (0%)
ocean temperatures, migration patterns, great white sharks: 59 votes (98.33%)
influence, migration patterns, great white sharks: 0 votes (0%)
how do, influence, sharks: 1 votes (1.67%)
Total Votes: 60