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Oak Park and River Forest High School Library: Keyword Creation/Gathering Background Info

Use Wikipedia!

 DO...

  • use Wikipedia to become familiar with a topic or as a starting point for research
  • use Wikipedia to find more search terms or keywords for your research topic
  • find further sources at the bottom of the article
  • maintain a level of skepticism when reading Wikipedia articles

DON'T...

  • cite Wikipedia articles in your bibliography for assignments or papers
  • treat information on Wikipedia as facts, especially when concerning legal or medical advice

Creating Your Keywords

How to brainstorm:

  1. State your research question/topic
    • Example: "How do cigarette companies target children with their advertising?
  2. Identify main concepts:
    • CONCEPT #1 CONCEPT #2 CONCEPT #3
      cigarettes children advertising
  3. Brainstorm key words based on your own background knowledge:
    •   CONCEPT #1 CONCEPT #2 CONCEPT #3

      BRAINSTORM

      KEYWORDS

      cigarettes

      smoking

      chew

      tobacco

      smokeless tobacco

      nictone

      smoking industry

      big tobacco

      children

      child

      adolescents

      adolescence

      teens

      teenagers

      students

      youth

      advertising

      ads

      advertisements

      marketing

      commercials

      promotions

      television spots

      product placement

  4. Search Wikipedia and other reference sources to further develop your list of keywords.

 

Keywords can be:

  • synonyms
  • related terms
  • scientific terms/what the experts say 
  • different words to describe the same thing in the past vs. today (Great War vs WWI)
  • broader ideas
  • narrower ideas
  • alternate spellings (Ex: Ojibwe, Ojibwa)
  • specific examples (Ex: eutrohpication -> Lake Okeechobee)
  • abbreviations or acronyms

Keep track of your keywords and your queries.

Feel free to use this Brainstorming Chart to start

 

The Power of Wikipedia for Keywords/Background

Your question is What are Chippewa religious beliefs?

  • What are the most important concepts in this question?
  • Read this Wikipedia Article
  • What are some more important keywords now that you have some background info?

You question is What are the physics involved in the bottle flipping trend?

  • What are the most important concepts in this question?
  • Read this Wikipedia Article
  • What are some more important keywords now that you have some background info?

**You will continue to find more keywords as you find/read more information.  Keep track of them**

Keep Refining Your Keywords!

Don't Give Up!

  • Go from GENERAL to SPECIFIC.  Start with just one word, then another single word, then combinations...KEEP PLAYING!
  • Keep thinking of more synonyms and different ways to say your keywords.
  • Find words used by experts in your topic.  (Especially useful in scientific research!)
  • If searching historical documents, think about words used in the past vs today.  
    • (The Great War vs World War I)
  • KEEP READING!  You will continue to find better words and phrases the more you learn about your topic.

**Remember that research is not linear.  

search > read > evaluate > refine keywords > repeat...