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MUTH 110

Introduction to Music Therapy


Keywords are the first (and, often, most skipped) step in your research. We can talk about the same issues using completely different words; if you only identify one of those words to search, you might miss some key research! Searches for a computer vs. a Dell vs. a desktop will get you very different results, after all. Below is one way to do so, though it isn't the only way. This isn't an exercise to do in your head, write it out!

Perhaps you generate your keywords (and alternate keywords) in the concept map. Or perhaps, you prefer to generate a cleaner looking list, like the one below. If you have a research question already started, you can identify your keywords and come up with alternate words, or you use that research question to start a concept map. It really is what works best for your brain! Just make sure you're coming up with multiple keywords and writing it down!

Topic Keywords

This table shows an examples brainstorming for keywords
Population Intervention Symptoms/Outcome
Military personnel music therapy ptsd
active military music depression
soldiers songwriting trauma
veterans musical instruments sleep
  CBT improved sleep hygiene

This table breaks our research question into three areas to think about: the population you have selected, symptoms affecting that population or the improved outcome you are aiming for, and the intervention you are using to target those issues. For each one, we also want to brainstorm about the other ways to describe those keywords. Sometimes those words may be synonyms (active military and soldiers). However, we also want to think about broadening (music therapy is a smaller focus than just music) and narrowing (poor sleep being only one symptom of the diagnosis of PTSD) those options.

Especially when you are just starting research, you may not know which word will be best for a particular database or the field of study until you start looking. Give yourself options!