Skip to Questions

LibAnswers (aka FAQ)

Useful Tip: Hint: for best results, use just a few of the most important keywords related to your question.

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

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2014  |  332 Views

Was this helpful? 2   0


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









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

Grey triangle Embedded Media:

Other Answers / Comments (0)

    Live Chat

    Chat is available most hours Pius Library is open.
    JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

    More ways to ask questions!

    Browse by Popular Topics

    About St. Louis  –  About the Libraries  –  Ask a Librarian  –  Aviation  –  Biology  –  Business  –  Chemistry  –  Citing Sources  –  Computer Science  –  Databases  –  Education  –  EndNote  –  Engineering  –  General  –  Grants  –  Information Evaluation  –  Journals  –  Just for Fun  –  Library Associates  –  Library Catalog  –  Library Policies  –  Medicine  –  Printing & Copying  –  Research Strategies  –  SLU  –  SLUth Search Plus  –  Technology  –  Tegrity  –  Theology  
    View All Topics