Skip to Main Content

REL 566: Marian Dogmas

Identifying Keywords

Keywords are the terms that you type into the search box in a library database.  They are the essential terms for your idea, the most important words describing your topic. 

Before you can begin searching for information in a resource, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. 

Key terminology can be be found by scanning:

  • Your initial research questions
  • In-class readings
  • Background research articles from encyclopedias, news articles, popular magazines, etc.
  • Bibliographies found at the end of books and articles
  • Specialized vocabulary or terms associated with your topic/field of study
  • Related, broader, and narrower terms connected to each of the key concepts
  • Subject terms assigned to relevant works in library catalogs or research databases
TIP: Make a list or use a chart to keep track of keywords related to your topic. Keep it by your side when you start your research. Make note of which keywords return the most relevant results. It's a dynamic process and you may have to experiment with several synonyms.

Where To Search

Subject Headings

Subject headings are a good place to start searching for books and other materials in the catalog, but are not exhaustive. If you're not finding the results you want, try using a subject heading in Advanced Search to narrow subject results by language and date, or try a keyword search to potentially broaden the results.

Tip: you can also borrow subject terms for keyword searches outside of the catalog!

chat loading...