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ENGL 101 - English Composition I - Atkins: Keywords

What are keywords?

Keywords are important words/concepts used to find resources (books, articles, pictures of cats, ect.).

  • When you search Google (or any of the other research sites we'll talk about), the computer searches for articles, websites, or books that mention the words you asked for.
  • So, when picking your keywords, imagine the kinds of things you want to find and think of keywords that might be in those resources.

Where do I get my keywords?

Your first keywords will come from your research question.

  • Pull out the most important words or groups of words from your research question (people, places, things).

You can get more keywords from:

  • Related words to your topic that you already know.
  • In the Subject Terms, Subject Headings, or Keyword sections of your sources.
  • Words you see from reading your sources.

Broad and Narrow Searching

Combining your Keywords

Choose simple but clear keywords and connect them with boolean language (AND, OR, NOT)

AND Searches for places where both keywords appear together
OR Searches for either of the keywords. They might be together or they might not.
NOT Searches for places where the first keyword appears without the second.

Examples:

  • Stress AND College
  • Indians NOT India
  • Pets AND Cats OR Dogs