Identify Keywords: Keywords Basics

Have a topic in mind? Use these resources to help identify keywords!

What are Keywords?

Research questions are comprised of different key concepts or ideas that you are researching.  

These key concepts or ideas are the basis for the keywords you will use in your research - the words that you will look up in books, articles, websites and more.

Different research tools may use different words to describe the same concept or idea - you will need to identify synonyms and related terms for each of your keywords to use in your research.

Steps for Generating Keywords

  1. Write down your research question.
  2. Identify the major concepts.
  3. Brainstorm related keywords or synonyms for each main concept.
  4. Trouble thinking of synonyms?
  • Search your topic in Google or Academic OneFile.
  • Browse the titles of articles.
  • Look for synonyms or related concepts you might have missed.
  • Or, read an overview of the topic in Wikipedia.
  1. Group related keywords.