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Q

How can I choose the correct keywords to search when researching my topic?

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2014  |  250 Views

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Answer

There aren't necessarily "correct" keywords to search when researching a topic. Brainstorming for keywords is a process that will help increase your chances of finding information on your topic. You never know what words authors will use in their articles, books, and Web sites that are related to your topic.

Here is an example.

Let's say that you'd like to write a persuasive essay that will convince college students in the United States that they need to save more money. First, you need to identify your main concepts. (See terms in red.) Then, for each term, brainstorm  different forms of the word, synonyms, related terms, as well as narrower and broader terms. (See below.)

college students

United States

Saving money

Young adults

U.S.

Savings

Millennials

America

budgeting

Teenagers

 

investing

Generation Y

 

Personal savings

 

 

Savings accounts

Using different combinations of these keywords in your searches of the library databases, catalogs, and the Web will help you find information on your topic.

For example, you could try the following keyword search:  college students AND United States AND savings

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