Coming up with Keywords
Taking a few minutes to think about and identify some keywords before starting your search will help you search more efficiently, which will save you time (and probably a little frustration).
You probably already use keyword searching in your own life. For instance, if you're using Google (another search engine), and you need to find information about a movie theater in your town, what words might you use to search?
Why would you use those words?
Here's what I'd put into the search bar: "Windham Movie Theater." Like your search, I've tried to get the most important concepts in: I want to find a movie theater, but not just any movie theater. I want the one in my town, so I add the word Windham.
Whether through a search engine like Google, or through a library database, keywords help you find information.
Different subjects will often have their own specific terms to describe something. Keeping an eye out for subject-specific language will give you clues as to which subjects are writing about your research question, and what words you can use to search.
Here I notice that this is published in the American Journal of Public Health, and that Public Health is used again in the subjects. That suggests to me that I might find research about binge drinking in the subject of public health. Do you notice any subject words that might make good keywords?
Here I notice subject terms relating to psychology. That suggests to me that I can probably find some more research on binge drinking in the area of psychology.
You can use your research log to keep track of where you've searched. Keeping track of where you've searched will save you time as you conduct your research.
You can use these suggestions while you are developing keywords from your research question:
Other resources to come up with keywords:
Look back at class readings or class discussions. Class readings and class discussions are background research, too! You might find that you've covered a topic or concept that will suggest useful keywords.
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