Brainstorming Search Words
separate an assignment topic into concepts,
brainstorm synonyms for concepts, and
Once you've decided upon a topic for your research, you may be tempted to begin searching the library catalog, article databases, or web immediately. However, taking a little time to analyze your topic and select good search terms will save you more time and effort later on.
To analyze your topic and break down the main idea into smaller concepts.
Now that you know a little bit about your topic; it's time to break it down into something more manageable.
A concept map is a visual aid that helps organize your thinking and explore the relationship between ideas.
You can draw your map by hand or you can use an online tool such as
Popular: Sources published in newspapers and magazines intended for general audience.
Scholarly: Well-researched sources that have been written for scholars, students, and experts in the discipline area.
Peer Reviewed: Articles that have been evaluated by other professionals in the field to check for accuracy and adherence to disciplinary standards.
Article: Articles are the individual "stories" published in a newspaper, magazine, or journal. For example, the story about the Rangers published in Sports Illustrated is an article.
Journal: Journals contain several articles published about a specific subject area and are typically scholarly. For example, the article about stem cells was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
Database: Databases index millions of articles published in thousands of newspapers, magazines, and journals. There are databases that index sources from many different discipline areas, while others are subject specific. For example, the New York Times can be accessed by searching the database Lexis Nexis Academic.