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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois Scholars Program (SOC 199)

Why Use Keywords?

Keywords are short words or phrases that capture the essence of your topic. Using strong keywords to search for information is the quickest way to to retrieve relevant results on your topic. 

Brainstorming Keywords for Your Topic

NOTE: ​You can download a copy of the "Brainstorming Keywords for Your Topic" worksheet at the bottom of this page. 

  1. Write your topic as a sentence or question in the box at the top of the worksheet. 
  2. Underline the main keywords or phrases for your topic. 
  3. Place each keyword in its own box at the bottom of the worksheet and brainstorm alternative keywords. The alternative keywords may be synonyms or other words used to describe aspects of your topic. 

Brainstorming Keywords for Your Topic Worksheet