2.3 Using Keywords
Deciding which keywords to use as you search has a major impact on the relevance of what you find. Your background knowledge of the topic will help you choose keywords. You can also glance through reference lists, contents pages and abstracts to see the words used by subject experts.
Using keywords to find information
Start with your assignment title, then expand your keywords to include similar or related words. Decide where to search for the information you need, and use all available search strategies and filters.
Using your existing knowledge
Imagine you were set the task: "Evaluate the effectiveness of one strategy to combat plastics in the ocean." In the box below write a list of the keywords you might use to look for information on this topic. Write as many relevant words as you can think of. When you have finished, click 'check' to compare your list of words to our list of words.
Note: There are many many different words you could choose. Answers are not wrong or right, but some words will be more effective than others.
Browsing Reference Lists
Below is a reference list from a source on the topic of Ocean Plastics. How many potentially useful keywords can you find in the titles listed? Look for types of plastic and different contexts of research on the topic. Click on the words you think are useful. You can open a full-screen version of the activity.