Identifying keywords is crucial when searching for information. If you take the time to brainstorm a bit before you start searching, it will save time in the long run.
What exactly is a keyword?
A keyword is any significant word or phrase that describes your topic. Therefore, the first step is to write a topic statement that sums up the subject and focus of your paper. You should be able to do this in a sentence or two. This may be a statement or a question. Now underline or highlight any relevant word; most often these are nouns and adjectives. Avoid abstract terms or concepts that can't be easily described. Here is where the brainstorming comes in. For each word you have identified, list synonyms and related words. Not all of these will be useful, you can pick and choose when the time comes. In the following example, the significant words from the topic statement are in red.
|Topic: What effect does advertising have on teen alcohol use?|
|effect||too abstract to be a good keyword|
The way these keywords are combined will determine the effectiveness of your searching. Experiment until you get the results you want.