CRLS Research Guide Cambridge Rindge And Latin Research Guide
Listing Key WordsTip Sheet 2
Ask these questions:
What is it?
When will I use them?
Why do I need to do it?
What are "good key words"?
When do I list them?
How do I list them?
1. First, write one or two sentences about your topic.
2. Next, underline all of the specific words that describe your topic.
3. Make a separate list of these specific words.
4. Add to your list any other words that mean the same thing (synonyms) or are related terms.
5. Think of more words or phrases that describe the larger topic, of which your topic is a part. Add those to the list.
6. Think of more words or phrases that are subtopics of your topic which might help you find you useful information. Add those to the list.
Now you should have a pretty long list of words and phrases that you can use to search for information. If one word isn't in a book's index or doesn't turn up any results on an electronic search, try another word or a combination of words.
Can you show me an example?
1. Write a sentence about your topic:
I want to do my project about some kind of ocean mammal such as whales or dolphins.
2. Pull out the key words and phrases in the sentences above and list them separately:
3. Now start expanding the list with related terms and synonyms:
ocean --> sea --> marine
mammals --> warm-blooded animals
ocean mammal --> marine mammal
whales --> cetaceans
dolphins --> porpoises
4. Are there any larger categories that might lead you to information?
ocean mammal --> ocean life, marine life, mammals, animals
5. Are there any words or phrases that are more specific?
whales --> blue whale, killer whale, humpback whale
dolphins --> bottle nose dolphin
6. Now you have a beginning list of key words and phrases to begin searching for information. You can put them in order like this:
Synonyms and Related Terms
bottle nose dolphin
7. Leave yourself room on the chart to add more key words and phrases as you discover them in your searching.
You will use these key words in the next step of research, "Getting an Overview".
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE: