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UGS 303 - Writing, Scripts and Literacy

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Brainstorm Search Terms (Keywords)

Save time!

Library databases and Google can't be searched the same way so take a few moments to come up with a search strategy before diving into a database.


Sample topic:  The role of writing in endangered languages.

Step 1:  Think about the key concepts of your topic and search those instead of an entire phrases or sentences.

  • Key concepts:  writing, endangered languages

Step 2:   Think of other terms you could use that are synonyms or related (they could be a broader or narrower aspect).  This often requires that you do a little background research to learn more.

  • Other terms for writing  - scripts, writing systems, glottographic systems
  • Other terms for endangered languages - dying languages, (a specific language)

Step 3:  Connect your terms using AND and OR:

  • Example 1: writing AND endangered langugages
  • Example 2: writing OR scripts AND endangered languages OR dying languages

Remember - 

  • AND narrows your topic (use AND between terms if you want them all to appear in your results)
  • OR broadens your topic (use OR between terms if you want any, not all, to appear in your results)

Find Background Information

If you use Wikipedia as a first step in your research, you are already using background information to get started with research.  Background information helps you:

  • pre-research your topic
  • learn more about theories and concepts
  • define terms
  • find key terms you can use to search for additional sources

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