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Research Process: Keywords

Conducting research is a multi-step process. This guide will teach you how to conduct effective and efficient research.

Brainstorming Keywords

Boolean Searching Video

What are keywords and how do I generate them?

Keywords are the search terms that you type into the search box(s) in an online database or search engine.

  • Look at the research question, underline the important words or phrases. These are keywords.
  • Brainstorm what you already know about the topic:
    • Is there accepted (expert) terminology for the topic?
    • Are there any synonyms for the topic? (Use a thesaurus)
    • Are there any specific words or technical terminology for the topic?
    • Are there other common words for the topic?
  • Look in an encyclopedia index or in the index of a book about the topic to find more keywords.

Search using combinations of keywords by using Boolean operators.

How do I find keywords for my research?

Keywords and Boolean Operators