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WR 121H (Knutsen) - Fall 2019

Resources for Honors Writing 121

Brainstorm Keywords

Research questions guide the research process, but they don't work well in search systems in their sentence form. Instead, we use the main ideas from the research question to formulate keywords for searching.

And sometimes, those keywords need to be adjusted to find more relevant sources. Synonyms, narrower related terms, and broader related terms can all be used to adjust searches. It's often helpful to brainstorm these related words and phrases before beginning your search, so that you immediately have other words to use.


main word/phrase synonyms broader categories narrower categories related terms
physical punishment corporal punishment punishment spanking abuse
discipline behavior control parenting child discipline authority

Here's a worksheet that may help you with this brainstorming process.

Find Alternate Search Words

In your results lists, look for other search terms in these places:

  • Source titles
  • Abstracts, table of contents, descriptions
  • Assigned Subjects

Most sources found in OneSearch are assigned one or more subjects to help describe what the source is about. Click on a term that best fits your topic or use terms as other keywords in your searches.

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