Keywords: Terms that represent your concepts for the purpose of searching for relevant literature. Keywords may be the same as the concepts themselves and may also include variant spellings, synonyms, and related terms. Small changes in word choice can result in different search results; thus it is valuable to conduct multiple searches using different keywords to express your concepts.

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Determining Keywords

Once you have identified the concepts relevant to your topic, you will need to translate these into specific keywords to use as search terms. The concepts you identified may themselves serve as good keywords; however, some concepts will require adaptation to yield effective keywords. Potential keywords may include synonyms for, and examples of, each concept. For example, consider how the identified concepts can lead to potential keywords for the following:

Choose one aboriginal group and discuss its challenges in asserting control over ancestral land”

Concept #1

Concept #2

Concept #3

aboriginals

control

ancestral land

Keywords

Keywords

Keywords

aboriginals

First Nations

indigenous peoples

Cree

autonomy

sovereignty

self determination

empowerment

ancestral land

land

territory

Use the Search Strategy Worksheet located in Resources to help you identify your concepts and determine possible keywords.