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Michael Schwartz Library

ART/UST 375: City and Civilization - Paris

Build Your Search Vocabulary

Identify key ideas from your research question (think nouns)

  • Not complete sentences as used in normal conversation
  • Leave out minor words such as articles ("a," "an," or "the")
  • Leave out prepositions or verb phrases ("on," "in," or "going to")

Brainstorm and/or use a thesaurus to find synonyms

  • Example: Merriam-Webster Thesaurus:

Talk to others to help work out your ideas

  • It can be very useful to bring another perspective to your work

Record useful terms you found doing research

  • Look back at class readings or class discussions—you might find that you've covered a topic or concept that will suggest useful keywords
  • Different subjects will often have their own specific terms to describe something
  • Collect keywords and subject headings from resources

Keep track of which keywords worked and didn't work, and the sources you find

Track Your Research Process

Keeping a research diary can help you organize your research time so that you don't duplicate searches, feel lost or overwhelmed, and can help you to be a more efficient and successful searcher. Track your process to help you write the reflection for your assignment.

  1. What you searched
    • academic databases
    • library catalog
    • Google Scholar
    • Google or other search engines
    • etc.
  2. How you searched
    • keywords or keyword phrases
    • limits you used
    • subject terms you found
  3. Difficulties encountered
    • how did you resolve them?