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PTK Honors in Action Research: Brainstorming Keywords

Choose Search Words

Time-Saving Search Tips List


  • Select 2-3 nouns (e.g., person, place, or thing) that most accurately describe your topic.
  • Connect search words with "and" in database searches.
    example: hydropower and Norway
  • Enclose words in phrases with quotation marks in database and web searches.
    example: "wind farms" and Canada
  • Try synonyms or broader terms for topic search words as needed.
    examples: (1) hydroelectricity and Norway (2) "renewable energy" and Europe
  • Compare two terms with another topic in a single search.
    example: (Norway or "United States") and hydropower
  • Check subject words listed in a useful database result; use them in a follow-up search.
  • Scan the full text of a useful database result or web page for the following to use in a follow-up search.
    • organizations
    • alternate terms
    • names of noted experts

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