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The Research Process: Identify Keywords

Class activity for freshman/sophomore college students @ ECSU

Developing a Topic

1. Selecting a topic

2. Identify keywords

3. Finding background information


Struggling to identify keywords? Try this... which words would you #hashtag if it was #socialmedia ?

Identifying Keywords

The keywords you use can have a profound impact on the results of your research. Using the “right” words will speed up the research process, while the “wrong” words can bring to it to a halt.

Before you can begin searching for information, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be easily be found by scanning: 

  • Your research questions
  • Articles found from background research
  • Bibliographies found at the end of books and articles

If you are still struggling:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms.
  • Find pictures related to your topic, then describe them.
  • Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend.

G.R. Little Library

Elizabeth City State University