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WAMS Research Guide: Keywords and Keyword Strategies

Tutorials and links to help you navigate the research process successfully.

Useful Resources

What are Keywords?

Definition: Keywords are words that describe the information you want to find.

 Keywords can be used with any source (book, database, web) to help you locate information on your topic.

Online sources:  Keywords can be typed into a Search box in order to return a list of results like, database articles or web pages, with information about the topic described by the keywords.

Print sources: Keywords can be used as you look in the Table of Contents or Index of a print source to identify specific pages or sections  that contain the information you want.



Before you perform any active searching for information, you should:

1.  Read the box Choosing Keywords for Online Searching and  watch the video,Keyword Strategies, to learn how to come up with good keywords for YOUR research.

2.  Take a few minutes to create a list of keywords related to your topic.  

Database Keyword Strategies

Choosing Keywords for Online Searching

KEYWORDS: You need to identify the best keywords to type into a database or Internet search engine.  Choosing keywords is a skill that is practiced and improved over time.  

Good keywords -- will give you -- Good results

Taking the time to think about the best choices for keywords will save you A LOT of TIME.  View the video to the right titled Database Keyword Strategies to learn/review how to generate/combine effective keywords for database or Internet searching.


Ideas for Keywords for my searches:

My topic - What words best describe your topic; Think about synonyms as well; Are these keywords a well-known phrase that can be put in quotes?

Related topics - Might lead to articles on possible thesis points

Issues related to topic - Might help you to locate more detailed or specific articles

People or Organizations related to topic/issues - Might lead to more detailed  or possible thesis point articles

Locations/events related to topic/issues - Might lead to more detailed  or possible thesis point articles

 How can you combine some of your keywords to create a more specific or targeted search?