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Loyola University Chicago Libraries

FYRE 2021

This guide will assist FYRE students with their research and virtual poster presentations.

Research Databases Best Bets

Developing Keywords

Step One: Summarize topic. State your topic in one or two sentences. Be as specific as possible.

Step Two: Identify concepts. Underline the main concepts in your topic summary. Concepts are the different ideas which make up each unique search topic. Most topics can be broken down into two or three main concepts.

Step Three: Develop keywords/phrases for each concept. Create a list of words or phrases which describes each of your identified concepts and use these in your search:

  • Try to think of appropriate synonyms or variant forms since a variety of words and phrases could be used to describe the same concept
  • Consider possible hierarchical relationships within a particular concept.
  • Widen, then narrow. If you’re not sure what concepts might be related, read news, magazine, or encyclopedia entries to understand how your topic relates to the overall issue.
  • Use word truncation. Examine each keyword to see if it can be truncated with a symbol (e.g., *, #, ?, +) to a shorter "root" form

Step Four: Find subject words or phrases. Continue building your list with the database tools! 

Feeling Stuck?

When you hit a road block in your research, there are a variety of ways to pivot and adjust your strategies. Try these! 

Finally, ask for help! You have a variety of human resources available to you—your faculty mentor, a librarian and your peers!