How do I know what keywords to use for my topic?


Keywords are the most important words in your research question/topic.

For example, if my research question was: Does being a college athlete affect academic performance? My keywords would be collegeathlete, and academic performance. Those are the words I would use to do a search in one of our databases.

It's important to remember that researchers might refer to these words and concepts in different ways. You should think about other ways you might search for this topic. One easy way to do this is to think of synonyms or like concepts:

  • college: university, higher education
  • athlete: sports player, football, soccer, etc.
    • Here we can be more specific by adding in particular sports 
  • academic performance: grades, GPA, academic success, retention, graduation rates
    • Here we can think of other concepts that can be indicators of academic performance

If you're having trouble thinking of keywords, contact the library for help!

  • Last Updated Aug 22, 2022
  • Views 37
  • Answered By Librarian

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