PART II: Using Search Tools to Find Articles - p. 5 of 7


Keyword Practice: How did you do?


Here are some ways you could think about keywords for these topics. There are no absolute right or wrong answers here, but there are some strategies that will work better than others.


Topic 1: To prevent traffic accidents, the driving age for teenagers should be raised.


Important concept #1: teenagers

Synonyms or related words: adolescents, kids, young adults


Important concept #2: driving age

Synonyms or related words: drivers, drivers licenses, driving permits, drivers education


Important concept #3: accidents

Synonyms or related words: deaths, fatalitites, injuries, traffic violations


Did you come up with the same important concepts? How about synonyms and related words--did you have more or less?


Topic 2: Banning soda in schools would encourage healthier eating.


Important concept #1: schools

Synonyms or related words: education, cafeteria, lunchroom, (any other terms would depend on what you plan to discuss in your paper. For instance, if you want to focus just on elementary schools, you could use that phrase)


Important concept #2: soda

Synonyms or related words: pop, coke, pepsi, soft drinks, cola, junk food, vending machines


Important concept #3: health

Synonyms or related words: nutrition, obesity, weight, diabetes, (other terms could focus on specific health issues your research shows are related to soda in schools)


Did you come up with the same important concepts? How about synonyms and related words--did you have more or less?


You'll see that there is a lot of flexibility in creating these list of terms. Think carefully about what YOU want to say and learn, and create your possible search terms around that. And of course, if you find a search isn't working, revise your strategy.


So why do all this work coming up with keywords? Because a little planning can help save you time. Have you ever done a search in a database or even on the Internet and not gotten ANYTHING useful? That happens to everyone at some point, and many people end up frustrated and anxious when they didn't get the results they expected. They freeze, unable to think of any other way to get what they need. Having a set of keywords ready to go can make that moment less intimidating. If one search doesn't work, try another one! Get in the habit of planning out your search on paper/computer or even in your head before you just jump in. Those few moments of pre-planning can end up saving you time in the end.


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