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ENGL 103 Research Guide: 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)



Worksheet: Identifying keywords from a topic

Review: Topic to keywords


My example topic was inspired by a news article I came across the other day:

"Privacy Risk with Social Media"

I have a pretty strong opinion about this after my Facebook account was hacked.

The "SO WHAT" question should be easy to address.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons


Step 1: Write down your topic statement.

A successful topic statement is usually just one sentence. 

Examples of a topic statement

 If you think that users' privacy is the company's responsibility:

I think social media companies like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat need to strengthen privacy policies that protect the users they depend upon to stay in business.

If you think that users' privacy is the users' responsibility:

I think the use of social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat is voluntary, so users need to learn how to protect themselves by being aware of privacy risks involved. 

Step 2: Pull out the keywords from your topic statement.

Keywords are the most important ideas found in your topic statement. 


 Facebook, Instagram, etc.           social media            privacy        policy         users