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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Communication 101

Library information and resources for CMN 101 classes.

How to Complete the Brainstorming Keywords Worksheet

Click on the Blank Brainstorming Keywords Worksheet document above to download a copy of the worksheet.

  • STEP 1: Type your research topic in the box at the top of the worksheet and underline the main keywords or concepts.
  • STEP 2: Brainstorm additional keywords that are either synonyms, broader keywords, or narrower keywords.
    • Synonyms are words that mean the same thing as a main keyword and help you find articles on similar topics
    • Narrower keywords help focus your topic if you are getting too many articles
    • Broader keywords help expand your topic if you are getting too few articles
  • STEP 3: Write down your main keywords or concepts and then brainstorm synonyms, broader keywords, or narrower keywords in the table on the worksheet. You do not have to complete every spot in the table as sometimes there are no alternative keywords.
  • STEP 4: Choose a keyword from each row in the table and then add each selected keyword to its own search box to start searching. Different keyword combinations will give different search results. Keep track of the different keyword combinations you use.
  • STEP 5: As you search and try different keyword combinations, write down any new keywords that you discover in the box below the table on the worksheet.
  • STEP 6: Finally, list (3) subject databases you can use from the Find Articles Guide related to your topic.