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SocTech Residential College: Getting Started

Getting Started - Library Tips

Note: These clips are best viewed in Chrome.  Click the expansion arrows in the bottom right-hand corner of the video player to view the video in full screen mode.  Hope you find these tips helpful!

How Do I...?

Generating Keywords for Your Search

What are keywords? 

Keywords are individual words or short phrases that represent the main ideas in your research topic or question.

To come up with keywords for your research, consider doing the following:

1) Think carefully about your topic.  Write it out in a sentence or two.

2) Circle the key concepts in your topic sentences.

3) Brainstorm synonyms or related terms for your key concepts.  One approach to brainstorming is to create a concept map. You can do this with simple pen and paper or via free online programs such as Coggle (you will need to sign in with a Google account to use Coggle) or

4) These are now your search terms.  Experiment with different combinations of the terms using AND/OR.

5) When you successfully find sources that are relevant to your search, pay attention to the keywords and subject terms in the database record and the source itself.  This may lead you to additional sources.