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Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: 1c. Identify Keywords

This guide walks you through the steps of the research process.

Identifying Keywords

The keywords you use can have a profound impact on the results of your research. Using the “right” words will speed up the research process, while the “wrong” words can bring it to a halt.

Before you can begin searching for information, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be easily found by scanning:

If you are still struggling:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms.
  • Find pictures related to your topic, then describe them.
  • Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend.

Tip!

Struggling to identify #keywords based on your #topic?

Try this idea... which words would you #hashtag if it was a #social network feed?

Track Keywords using a Concept Map

This Thinking Tool, modified for our purposes from an original created by the University of Virginia Library, can help you create a concept map of keywords and phrases:

If you have questions about how this works take a look at this video from Penn State University Libraries. It describes concept mapping: