Keyword Searching Tips
Keywords are important terms, words or phrases that identify the information described in an online search tool. Keyword searching directs online search tools like search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), library catalogs (Alexandria), or a subscription database to find works that include your keyword search term(s).

Step ONE:
  • Look at your teacher's assignment sheet:
  • Locate the prompt, question(s) you are to answer, or look for the thesis statement (central idea).

Step TWO:

  • Underline the most important words or main ideas in the prompt, question(s) you are to answer, or thesis statement


  • Make a list of synonyms (similar words) to the words you underlined. Theses will become your "keywords" during your search.

Step FIVE:


  • Your search is only as successful as the quality of the keywords you use, and how you combine them.
    • If you use very common search terms, you will retrieve a lot of irrelevant material.
    • If your search terms are too specific, you will retrieve few results.
  • When searching for a phrase, be sure to put it in quotes so your results contain the phrase rather than the words individually.
    • Ex: "dog obedience"
  • NOTE: Wikipedia is a great place to find alternative keywords in order to broaden your search but do not use it as a valid/creditable source.