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SOCL 209: Social Research Methods (Dupont) Spring 2021

Choosing Keywords

Choosing Keywords

Keywords are the words you'll use when searching in databases.  Choosing the right word or words can make all the difference.  For example, if you wanted to write a paper on the effect divorce has on children's school performance, you would want to find keywords for the main concepts of 'divorce', 'children', and 'school performance.' 

Breakdown of research question into keywordsBreakdown of research question into keywords

Keywords: Tips and Tricks

When you start doing research, it can be very helpful to keep a list of keywords that you can use.  You will likely try different combinations of these terms in order to find just the research you are looking for.  To get ideas on additional keywords, try the following:

  • Brainstorm synonyms, larger concepts, and narrower concepts
  • Check out background sources for additional terms (see the tab above)
  • Look at the list of subject terms when you locate an article using the library's databases