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HI 1330: Introduction to the History of Science and Technology


Choosing Keywords:

  • This process often requires a lot of trial and error.
  • Begin with some basic keywords about your topic to get started.
  • Brainstorm synonyms for those keywords.
  • Use encyclopedias to find more complex vocabulary/technical terms.
  • READ – the more you read about your topic, the more you will learn about the vocabulary used in that field, which will help you to refine your keyword searches.
  • This is not a linear process. There will be a lot of back and forth between reading/note taking and trying different searches.

Find Background Information

Look for background information in encyclopedias, government websites, and NGO websites. Use these sources to find research topics or to narrow down a research topic. Background sources can also help you learn the vocabulary used to describe your topic. This new vocabulary will help you with your keyword searches. 

Helpful sources for background information include: