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Research Guides


Your guide to finding Psychology resources at the University of Toronto Libraries

Keywords Matter

Ask yourself three questions:

  1. What is my topic?
  2. What are the key aspects of this topic?
  3. What are alternate keywords for each aspect?

Brainstorm keywords to use in your search. Pick words that represent each key aspect of your topic. This can be challenging. The same idea can be expressed in many ways. To ensure the best results when searching, brainstorm several keywords whenever possible.

Sample Topic

Let's say you were interested in finding research articles on the following topic: The influence of emotional bonding on emotion regulation abilities in children. What are some keywords you could use?

Key concepts:

  • emotional bonding AND emotion regulation AND children

Related keywords/synonyms for each concept:

Emotional bonding:

  • Attachment
  • Attachment behavio(u)r

Emotion regulation:

  • Affect regulation
  • Emotional control


  • Youth
  • Adolescents/adolescence