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UGS 302: New Urban Studies / Lewis

Develop Keywords

Develop Keywords

Keywords help you search for and locate information. When searching, it's important to have a variety of keywords to try. Saying something in a different way or using a different keyword can help you find a variety of sources. Keywords are especially important when you are searching in databases since databases require more exact terms and phrases than Google. 

Here are some steps to help you get started developing keywords. You can also use this interactive tool to help you develop keywords.

  1. Write down your topic
  2. Identify key concepts in your topic
  3. For each concept, brainstorm related terms
    • Tip: Related terms can be broad or narrow. 

Keywords example: 

  • Topic: Representations of teenagers in the media 
  • Key concepts: Teenagers, Media 
Concept Teenagers  Media 
Related terms Adolescents, Teens, Youth, Students, Teenage Girls  Mass media, Television, Hollywood, YouTube

Now combine your keywords using AND and OR

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


  • Teenagers AND Media OR Television  
  • Adolescents OR Youth AND Mass media 

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