How to Develop Keywords
This video will introduce you to one approach for identifying keywords for your research topic.
How to develop keywords
So you’ve started searching for resources for an assignment but you’re not sure what words to use in your search.
You try entering your whole research question in a library database, and you don’t get anything back. Instead of searching for your whole question at once, try using keywords.
So, how do you develop keywords? One approach is to identify the main concepts in the research question you are exploring.
Let’s use the example question of: “why does lavender attract honeybees?”
In this question, our main concepts are: lavender and honeybees.
But we don’t want to just search for our main concepts.
We want to think about all the words people might use when talking about our main concepts so that we don’t miss any relevant resources.
It can be helpful to explore your concepts in Google, Wikipedia, or Primo to see what words people are using to talk about your concepts.
This process will help you develop keywords for your search!
Let’s try this process with “lavender.” Synonyms might be a related name, like the scientific name for lavender, “Lavandula. ”Or a more broad word, like flowers. Or a more narrow word, like lavender buds.
All of these words may be useful to us when searching for resources on lavender.
Repeat this process for all of the main concepts in your research question.
Now you have a variety of keywords that you can use when searching for resources on your topic.
You may have to tweak your search and try entering these words in different combinations depending on your results.
Need help? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, chat, or drop by!