Identify keywords

You can search for information much more effectively and efficiently when you take the time to breakdown your topic into concepts and then keywords. This will give you the terms needed to search the various information sources: databases, eBooks, the library catalogue or the web. Here are three steps to help you out.


1. First you must pick out your main concepts or most important aspects of your research question. Ignore the “small” words (what, are, the, etc.), words connected to time (sometimes, always, perhaps, often, etc.) and words that show relation (effects, lead to, increases, etc.)

Example:
What are the effects of media on bullying among children?

The main concepts are: media / bullying / children


2. Now find some synonyms. Different authors will use different words to write about their topics. Therefore you must come up with synonyms and related words for each concept. Don’t forget to include spelling variants (behavior & behaviour) and singular / plural variants (goose & geese). The concepts along with the synonyms and related terms become your keywords.

Can’t think of any synonyms? Use these tools.


3. Finally, fill in a keyword chart.

Download the keyword-chart to keep track of your own keywords.