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.

Fiat Lux: What Are Keywords?

This is a copy of a guide created by Lindsay Davis while working at UC Merced. She presented this series at SCIL Works 2019.

Brainstorming Keywords

The words you type into the search box affect your search results. Not all authors use the same language to describe similar topics, so you will need to try a variety of searches.

  • Create a list of possible words that could appear in a book or article related to your topic of interest.
  • Come up with synonyms or related terms for those.
  • If you're researching a topic from an historical point of view, it may also be helpful to come up with historical terms that may be pejorative today.
  • Stick to using 2-4 nouns when searching.

How to Choose Keywords

McMaster Libraries (2:42)

Activity

"How do sleep habits affect the academic success of college students?"

My keywords are:

  • sleep habits
  • academic success
  • college students

What are some possible alternatives for each of these keywords?