Keywords

Keywords are the individual concepts, words or terms that define the important ideas in your research topic. They can be personal names, places, theories, research methods, or descriptive terms. Successful searches typically use more than one keyword. Just as you need a travel plan in mind before you can book a flight, you need to develop a search strategy to find the sources you want. The search strategy:

  • Defines your research question with keywords
  • Organizes your search
  • Helps you identify appropriate results

Examples of Creating a Search Strategy
Business
1. Use your research question or thesis statement as a starting point.
Does having a diverse workforce affect company profits?

2. Identify the important concepts to include in your search:
Does having a diverse workforce affect company profits?

3. Create a list of synonyms or alternative terms that will help you find more resources.

Diverse Workforce Company Profits
Diversity
Multiculturalism
Affirmative action
Women
Minorities
Homosexuality
Religious differences
Workers
Employees
Workplace
Profits
Profitability
Market Share

Once you have created a list of potential search terms you can construct your search using Boolean operators, limiters, expanders, and other search symbols, which you will learn about next.

View examples for Education, Psychology, Human Services and Technology.

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