Keywords are the words used to search online tools to find information resources. It is always a good idea to brainstorm a few keywords before beginning your search.
Begin with your topic or research question. For example:
- Does television promote aggression in children?
Then identify the main ideas. These main ideas are keywords. For example:
Next begin brainstorming words related to these keywords. Look for synonyms. For example:
Then think of specific terms which could belong to this big category. For example words that could belong to the category of television include:
- Music Videos
Next think of broader terms. For example television belongs to the bigger idea/concept/categories of:
- Entertainment Industry
- Communications Industry
Think of related terms. For example television is related to:
- Popular Culture
You can get ideas for these terms from what you know personally, asking family and friends, browsing the subject headings use in databases and the library catalog, or looking in a subject directory. Remember, you may add to this list of keywords to use as you become more knowledgeable about your topic. You will learn which words or phrases are most commonly used to describe your topic.
The process of brainstorming possibilities is helpful because it gives you a starting point. The first set of terms you think of may not always be the terms most commonly used and/or may not find all of the related information about your topic.