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COM 145: Interpersonal Communication: Starting Research


Why use keywords? When you type in a question into the computer, it looks at all the words, not just the concept you had in mind. To narrow your search to include only the best results, you need to use keywords.

Keywords describe the concepts involved in your topic.

Sample topic: Should colleges be required to prohibit bullying?

Instead of typing in every word, use the keywords:

"college" "prohibit" "bullying"

Search Tricks

Truncation: allows you to increase your search results. Take the root word and add a symbol, such as "*" search for various word endings at the same time.

Example: litigat* to find litigate, litigated, litigates, litigation, litigator

Quotation marks: Search exact phrase by using quotes.

Example: "small business"

Use a Thesaurus for synonyms: violence, abuse, assault, force, battery

Disciplines (like medicine) have their own terminology, use oncology instead of cancer

Keywords or search terms

Keyword or topic searches are the most common searches people perform when they do research.  "Keywords" are significant words or terms that are used in searching library research databases and Internet search engines for information related to a topic.

Be sure to think of any synonyms and/or related (broader or narrower) terms because databases and search engines categorize topics in different ways.  Examples

Examples of keywords. A link to accessible text follows

Accessible text