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ENGL 1521: College Composition 2

Identify and Generate Keywords

Identify Keywords

Identify keywords that relate to your topic to assist you when you are searching for resources. Often different words can describe the same concepts and as a researcher, you can never be sure which keywords will bring back the information you are looking for.  

Brainstorm related terms, broader terms and narrower terms related to your topic.  

chart outlining keywords. full text is available in document below.

Keyword Generators

Keyword vs. Subject Searching

A Keyword (or Basic) Search

Looks in several locations (usually subject, article title, abstracts or contents)

Does not require an exact match

Generates comparatively large number of hits (not precise)

Good if you are not familiar with terminology

A Subject Search

Looks in one place – subject

Usually requires an exact match between your term and a pre-set list of terms


Can be used after keyword search has identified specific subjects