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ENGWR 302 (Spangler)

ENGWR 302 (Spangler)

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.

  • Reparation AND (subject name or type of class action)
  • Restitution AND (subject name or type of class action)

Example: Reparation AND "Native Americans"

Example: Restitution AND women AND "talcum powder"

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 Reparations or Restitution:

  • "Restorative Justice"
  • Compensation


Some other words/phrases to consider.

  • "Historical Injustice"
  • Redress
  • Descendents


Can you think of any 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!