Building Keywords

Good keywords are essential to good stress-free research. Keywords used in combination can produce an amount of material without scrambling for more sources or looking through 3,000 records to find the information that you need. Let's discuss the steps to building keywords to start your research:


State your topic as a question or series of questions.
An example topic: "school violence"

  1. What causes school violence?
  2. How can schools prevent violence?
  3. What are the statistics on school violence?


Identify main terms from your questions.
School violence, prevent, causes, statistics


Make a list of synonyms and related terms.
Students, guns, shootings, killings, control, protection, elimination, reasons, explanations, social influences
If you need help with building keywords, you can ask a librarian. Librarians can help you form questions, identify main terms, and create lists of synonyms.