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UGS 302: How to Change the World - Padilla

Develop Keywords and a Research Plan

Create Your Research Plan

Now that you have background knowledge about your topic, think of keywords you could use to search for sources.  Use this interactive tool to help you organize your keywords, or try creating a concept map.  You can use the questions below to help you.

Example topic - mass incarceration

  1. What is the key concept?  mass incarceration
  2. What other words can you use that are related to your key concept?  prison, jail, prison industrial complex, criminal justice
  3. What aspects are you interested in exploring? discrimination, racial profiling, civil rights, employment, parental rights, voting rights
  4. Who are the stakeholders? police, families, prisoners 

Then combine your keywords from each answer using AND and OR.

  • AND narrows your search by looking for articles with all of the words so you get fewer results
  • OR broadens your search by looking for articles with any of the words so you get more results

Example Search in Academic Search Complete:

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Choose a Topic

Choose a Topic

Need help selecting or refining a research topic? Use this guide to get started. 

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