Skip to main content

Library Research Skills for Biologists

Search strategies

How can I use this?

Learning to brainstorm keywords leads to better searches, which allows you to find what you need more quickly and more efficiently.

Keywords = search terms

To start your research paper, you need to begin looking for sources. For an effective search, you need to use keywords, which are the building blocks of academic searching. There are two steps to good keyword formation:

  • Pinpoint the main concepts that compose your question
  • Expand each of those terms by brainstorming synonyms, related words and/or variant spellings.

RESEARCH QUESTION

Here is an example research question:

Question: HOW DO GREEN CRABS RESPOND TO VARYING pH LEVELS IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT?

MAIN CONCEPTS

The main concepts of this question are:

  • GREEN CRAB
  • pH

We start by brainstorming for similar keywords by using a concept map.

 

 

KEYWORDS

If you were to include synonyms, related words and variant spellings, the search terms might be:

WHAT ARE THE KEY ISSUES IN FOOD SECURITY FOR CANADA?

{1]} [2]

Image Credits

]1] Gaber, S. Horn of plenty [online]. Available from https://openclipart.org/detail/290485/crab-03

[2] SunKing2. Canada map [online]. Available from https://openclipart.org/detail/301571/ocean-scene