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Last Updated: Nov 21, 2014 URL: Print Guide
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What Are Keywords?

Keywords are the terms that you enter into the search field of a library catalog, database, search engine, or website.  They are the main idea(s) of a research topic.
For instance if you were interested in researching the health aspects of chocolate, you might use different combinations of the following keywords:  chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, cocoa, cocoa beans, health, nutrition, nutrients, diet, etc.
Having a variety of keywords means you will be able to conduct more thorough research and get better results.
Remember everyone thinks and defines things differently, so you need a bunch of search terms to try in the databases, catalog, and search engines! 

Try It!

Consider your topic and break it down into its main concepts.  Then, think of related, broader, and narrower terms connected to each of these. All of these terms/phrases are now your keywords.  
Remember your keywords may change as you start researching.  You may see other terms/phrases that work better with your subject or terms you never considered. 
Be flexible and change as needed!

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