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COMM 361 (Thornton-Sides)

COMM 361 (Thornton-Sides)

Working with Keywords

Selecting and Using Keywords

List Possible Keywords

Identify the keywords that best describe your topic. These can be used as search terms in the various search tools you might use to conduct your research, such as individual library databases, OneSearch, and Google.

Start with your main concepts.

  • Bullying AND Cliques

Keep it simple. It's better to enter a few well-chosen words than a long description of your topic.



Do some brainstorming and come up with synonyms for your keywords. You may have to work on each concept separately.

List some synonyms for Bullying:

  • Hazing
  • Put-downs


List some synonyms for Cliques.

  • Cool Groups
  • Adolescent Networks


Can you think of any others?

Broader and Narrower Search Terms

Can you think of some Broader, Narrower, and Related keywords for Bullying and Cliques?

Broader Search Terms

  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Verbal Abuse


Narrower Search Terms

  • Cyberbullying
  • Teen Gossip


Related Search Terms

  • Peer Pressure
  • Hate Crimes


What are some others?

Use Wikipedia to Track Down Useful Keywords

Once You Begin Your Search


  • Keep your list of keywords handy as you work with OneSearch or a library database.
  • If a particular search doesn't give you the results you need, go back to your list and try another approach.
  • As you are searching, you may come across new keywords that would work well with your search strategy.
  • Stay flexible!