Research Series: Identifying Keywords

image of a word cloud

What is a keyword?

A keyword is the main idea of your topic.

Why do we use keywords?

When doing research it is important to focus your search. Keywords can help you do this. Once you identify keywords for your topic, you can also identify synonyms or related terms to help you find more information. Finally, library resources produce better results when you use keywords.


Let’s say that your research question is this:

“What is the connection between running and weight loss among teenagers?”

Using this example, we might decide that our keywords are:

running, weight loss, teenagers

Some similar terms to use include:

jogging, aerobic exercise, cardiovascular exercise, fat loss, weight change, teens, adolescents, youth, high school students, college students

Need Help?

If you need help identifying keywords for your topic, please contact the NOVA Online Library (NOVA Happy searching!