Keywords are your ticket to speedy, effective research in library catalogues and online search engines. You can use keywords to skim and scan text. In this way you can quickly decide whether the information you're looking at is useful.
Once you've identified the important words in your question, divide a page into columns and write one of these words at the top of each. Underneath, jot down as many related keywords as you can think of. Remember to include:
- word variations, including plurals (for example, Aboriginal, Aborigines, Aborigine)
- complex keywords and phrases (for example, ‘Australian Aboriginal elders' not just ‘elders')
- Synonyms (for example, woman, female, lady). Have a thesaurus handy to help you with this – you can find one in the reference section of your library or online at sites like Thesaurus.com.
- Indigenous people.
- native black
When you're coming up with synonyms, think about how words might have been used in the past.
For example, even though you'd probably think of words like:
An old book might use words are not generally regarded as acceptable today like:
If you're having trouble thinking of keywords, you might need to go back and do some more background reading about your topic.