Skip to Main Content

Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: 2d. Research Strategies: Keywords and Subject Headings

A guide to help you through the steps of the research process.

Identifying Keywords

The keywords you use can have a profound impact on the results of your research. Using the “right” words will speed up the research process, while the “wrong” words can bring it to a halt.

Before you can begin searching for information, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can easily be found by scanning:

If you are still struggling:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms.
  • Find pictures related to your topic, then describe them.
  • Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend.
  • Use a keyword generator.


Struggling to identify #keywords based on your #topic?

Try this instead... what words would you #hashtag if you were posting to a #social network feed?

Finding Keywords Tutorial

Created by the Utah State University Libraries.

Tracking Keywords

Make a list or use the chart above to track keywords related to your topic.

Keep it by your side when you start your research.