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ENGL 1102 IA: Choosing Your Keywords

Starting Your Research

Every research paper begins with a research topic or a research question. The first step in searching the library databases is to pick out keywords, or the main ideas, from your research question. For example if my research question is "What is the governmental structure in Belize?" I would select the key words "governmental, structure, Belize". Below you will see a search in Discover Galileo using those keywords. Notice the first result is more relevant than the results shown on "The Web vs. Library Databases" tab of this guide.

Image of GALILEO Discover search for keywords governmental structure Belize.


Subject Terms or Thesaurus Tools

Some individual databases within Galileo have additional tools to help you select keywords for your search. These tools include the ability to browse a list of Subject Terms, which are terms the database uses to describe articles, and some databases have a built in Thesaurus. Below you will see an image of the Subject Terms tool in the Academic Search Complete database.

Image of search for subject terms using the database's subject terms tool. There are two search bars on the page. You want to enter your keywords in the second  box under Browsing Academic Search Complete Subject Terms. Once you enter your keywords, you can add multiple terms using the Add button.