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ENG 101 Prof Emanuele1: Using Keywords

Research Assignment: Educational Experiences

How to Use Keywords

Choosing Your Keywords

An effective search depends on a good choice of keywords (i.e. you cannot type a question into the database). How do you pull out keywords from your research question or statement to use in your database search?

  1. Think about your topic. and do background reading on the topic. You can use Wikipedia or the links below in the bibliography. 
  2. Take note of the words that are important to the topic or that keep reappearing as you read.
  3. Form a research question about your topic.
  4. Circle the most important ideas or concepts in your question or statement. These become your keywords.
  5. Think of some synonyms or related terms that you can use for your keywords. These new keywords will come in handy when you are searching.
  6. Connect your keywords together using the word AND. By adding the word AND, you are telling the database that you want all of these keywords to show up in your search results.
    1. Try changing your search by substituting some of your related terms or synonyms with other keywords in your search.

      What are the effects of media violence on teenagers?


      Effects OR Consequences

      Media OR Television

      Violence OR Aggression OR Destructive Behavior

      Teenagers OR Adolescents


      Possible Search strategies:

      Media AND Violence AND Teenagers 

      Television AND Aggression AND Adolescents

      Television AND Violence AND Teenagers AND Effects

      Media AND Destructive Behavior AND Adolescents AND Consequences

Here's an example: