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Biology Integrative Research Poster Project

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: Type II Diabetes and its molecular mechanisms within pancreatic beta cells. What are some keywords you could use?

Key concepts:

  • Type II Diabetes AND pancreatic AND beta cell(s)

Related keywords/synonyms for each concept:

Type II Diabetes:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • T2D, T2DM
  • Adult-onset Diabetes
  • Noninsulin Dependent Diabetes
  • Non-insulin Dependent Diabetes
  • Insulin Insensitivity
  • Insulin Resistance


  • Pancreas

Beta Cell:

  • Betacell
  • βcell
  • β-cell