chat loading...
Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ESL 151 - READING AND COMPOSITION V - McGrath

Keywords & Related Terms

To more quickly find the most promising information, it helps to start with a set of useful search terms.

One pro-tip is to assemble for yourself a word bank of search terms. These can be variations of the original words used in your research question, synonyms for those words, or related terms.

In the context of database strategies, a keyword is simply a word that is related to a subject that we are researching.

For example: One student's research question is, "What are the benefits and hazards of genetically modified foods?"

The main concepts in the question can be highlighted as follows:

"What are the benefits and hazards of genetically modified foods?"

The main concept is "genetically modified foods," and secondary concepts are "benefits" and "hazards." Those are keywords that would be smart to use in a database search. 

But it's wise to think of other terms to try in searches, because the experts writing about this topic may or may not be using the same words that the student initially used in framing her question. The goal is to find good keywords and related terms that will help narrow down or expand results when searching so that you can find better sources

benefits hazards genetically modified foods
advantages risks genetically modified organisms
positive effects disadvantages GMOs
helps dangers genetic engineering
  consequences mutation breeding


PROTIPS

1. Brainstorm synonyms and related terms for the keywords. Use an online thesaurus to find synonyms; use an encyclopedia or Wikipedia for related terms.

  • Example: If you're researching the topic of "dating," related terms may be "relationships", "courtship", "boyfriends", or "girlfriends".

2. Also consider...

  • singular/plural forms - women, woman / boys, boy
  • alternate spellings - theater, theatre / gray matter, grey matter
  • different word endings - teen, teenage, teenager, teenaged, teenagers
  • broader concepts - date rape > nonconsensual sex, sexual force, assault, attack, sexual abuse
  • more specific concepts - social media > Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Web 2.0
  • slang terms - marijuana > pot, dope, hash

3. Experiment with all the terms you brainstorm using the "Advanced Search" options within an online database or catalog.

  • Use Boolean operators to link key words for searching. 
    • To narrow a search to an exact topic, link major concepts with the Boolean operator "AND".
      Example: If searching for articles and books on issues dealing with women in space exploration, search for "women" AND "space", or "women" AND "astronauts", or "women" AND "NASA".
       
    • To expand a search to retrieve more results, link synonyms or related concepts with the Boolean operator "OR".
      Example: If searching for articles and books on issues dealing with teen-age addicts, search for "teenager" OR "teens" OR "young adult" OR "adolescent," and "addiction" OR "drugs" OR "alcoholism".
       
  • Use truncation to search for all variations of a key word. 
    Example: If searching for articles and books on addiction, search for "addict*", typing an asterisk or star symbol (*) at the end of the root "addict".  This will find books that mention "addicts", "addiction", and "addicted", all of which may be relevant to your research.

Glendale Community College | 1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, California 91208 | Tel: 818.240.1000 | 
GCC Home  © 2021 - Glendale Community College. All Rights Reserved. | POLICE 

chat loading...
chat loading...