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History 100 (Malloy): Brainstorming Keywords

The Historian's Craft

Brainstorming Keywords

The words you type into the search box affect your search results. Not all authors use the same language to describe similar topics, so you will need to try a variety of searches.

  • Create a list of possible words that could appear in a book or article related to your topic of interest.
  • Come up with synonyms or related terms for those.
  • If you're researching a topic from an historical point of view, it may also be helpful to come up with historical terms that may be pejorative today.
  • Stick to using 2-4 nouns when searching.

Example: "pop culture"

  • "science fiction"
  • film
  • television

Example: mummy

  • mummies
  • "mummified body"
  • "mummified bodies"

How to Choose Keywords

McMaster Libraries (2:42)