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Select Search Terms

Before you begin searching you will need identify key concepts and terms related to your topic. These key concepts and terms are often referred to as "keywords". Creating a list of keywords related to your research question will help you in finding the resources you need in an efficient and effective manner. 

Review the following examples and breakdown your research question into keywords:

Research Question

Keywords

Tip

What are the causes of homelessness in America?

Homelessness

America

Don’t use “soft words” like:

     cause

     effect

     impact 

     benefits

How has rising college tuition impacted students?

College

Tuition

Students

You may start to discover new terms and phrases:

                “Tuition increase”

                “Tuition hike”

                “College costs”

                “Graduation rates”

Put phrases in “quotations”.

Do cell phones cause brain cancer?

“Cell phones”

“Brain Cancer”

Think of synonyms:

                “mobile phone”

                “smart phone”

                “cellular phone”

… And Broad terms

                Cancer

How does the WWF gain support for programming?

WWF

Programming

Spell out acronyms to ensure accuracy:

“World Wildlife Fund”

(not to be confused with)

“World Wrestling Federation”