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CHMA10 Web of Science Research Basics

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 (see below for an example).

This process can be challenging. The same idea can be expressed in many ways. To ensure the best results when searching, brainstorm several keywords whenever possible.

Choose Keywords

List keywords that relate each concept in your research (use a thesaurus, course readings, or lecture notes for ideas).

For example: "Is there a significant relationship between openness and employee performance?"

Keywords:

  • openness = open, intellectual, curious, thoughtful, creative
  • performance = evaluation, achievement

Keyword Searching Tips

Keyword searching is essentially taking your best guess at the terms which will appear in articles that are about your topic.  This can be a very effective way of searching.  However, you may get a number of irrelevant results because the keywords you chose may appear in irrelevant articles.  You also never know if you've found all the article on your topic. 

Tip: The next time you're using a library catalogue/database or looking at a book or article, take note of the author defined keywords or keywords and subject headings used then try using those terms in your next search.