Keyword Creation

Breaking Down Your Research Question

The first step in creating keywords is to look at your research question or statement. Here’s an example:

“Should student athletes be paid for playing?”

Now underline the most important words in that question:

“Should student athletes be paid for playing?”

Here’s another example with the most important words already underlined:

Animal testing should be banned in the United States.”

Now let’s come up with some synonyms for each of our highlighted terms:

  • Animal testing: experimental animals, animal subjects, non-human test subjects
  • Banned: forbidden, outlawed, illegal
  • United States: U.S., U.S.A., United States of America, America

It’s important to choose the most important words in the sentence because we will need to segment our searching. This means that we won’t be typing an entire sentence into our database or library catalog - we will be entering short words and phrases.

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