Skip to main content
University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

UGS 302: Materials Science and Technology / Bhasin

Keywords - how to collect them and why

Why does it matter if I'm organized?

Staying organized in your research will be a gift to you in your academic career that keeps on giving. Every graduate student I know shakes their head emphatically when I ask them if they have ever lost an article or forgotten a source, or spent hours locating an article based upon a shred of memory. 

I have two tactics that can help you:

1) Keep a record of keywords that worked for you in this preliminary research. This might include:

  • Name of your material
  • Alternate or related names of your material (ex. vanadium, vanadinite, metal)
  • Terms for your topic
  • Uses for and applications of your material that you learned about

2) Use NoodleTools to save citations and organize notecards with notes about sources and search strategies.

Make that 3) Email yourself articles. Do not rely upon links since those are never stable or permanent URLs.

Sample keyword search

I learned about my material in Gale Virtual Reference Library and in the ASM Handbook.

In Gale, I learned that vanadium is mined in africa.

In ASM, I learned that vanadium is a steel additive that makes steel stronger (alloy).

Here are some ways I can use those words in a search:

For newspaper, magazine and journal articles about the dark side of my material, I chose Academic Search Complete because it has literature from many subject areas and perspectives:

For more information about the uses and properties of my material, I chose to ask engineers who write scientific articles:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.