What are keywords? Keywords are the most important words in a research statement or question. They are the words that create significance or meaning.
Why use keywords? Keywords are important in research because they are highly useful to facilitate an online search for information. They open the doors to vast amounts of information. Keywords may also be referred to as “search terms.”
Step 1: Write your topic as a single sentence or question as you would describe it to a friend or your professor.
Step 2: From that sentence, pull out the most important words or phrases.
Step 3: For each of the keywords or phrases, list as many synonyms, broader terms, narrower terms, or similar terms as you can. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, or a thesaurus can help with this!
Step 4: Use the keywords you wrote above when searching any resource. This gives you more to try when your topic doesn’t show up.
REMEMBER: You can always add more keywords. When you read an article or even a website during your information gathering, you’ll find terms that you never thought of that are either related to or synonymous with your topic.
Or sites that you might already be aware of, such as: