Even a small change in your keywords can lead to a big change in results.
(Credit: Adapted from the John M. Peau Library)
The first step in thinking of keywords is to define your topic. You can't research or write about a topic if you can't articulate what it is! Try writing your topic down in a sentence or a question.
Think of keywords to describe each concept involved in your topic. Think of more than one, in case, your first choice doesn't work.
Focus on synonyms and related terms. What are other ways to state your topic? Is there a specific word that describes an abstract concept in your topic?
Example: "How does funding from Political Action Committees affect the election process?"
1. Identify synonyms for key concepts:
|funding||Political Action Committees||election process|
2. Identify related concepts: political parties, voters, candidates, special interests, politics, state & federal laws, democracy
(Credit: South Dakota State University)
Tips for selecting keywords
(Credit: Adapted from South Dakota State University)