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Essential Research Skills for Workplace Writing

This tutorial is a basic introduction to doing effective and credible research for a variety of purposes and audiences

Learning Objective #4



Learn to recognize the importance of keywords in research and apply keyword brainstorming to concepts.

What Words Should I Use?

It's easy to find an answer to a simple question like: What is the capital of Kenya? But what happens when the question is more complicated? What words do you use? What words do you choose? 

 Two of the most common scenarios when doing research:

  1. You find TOO MUCH information on your topic, which becomes overwhelming, exhausting and frustrating;
  2. You find TOO LITTLE information on your topic, which equally becomes overwhelming, exhausting and frustrating.

‚ÄčA little time spent on your keyword development will make all the difference. 

This video from Winona State University will help get your started. Learn how to develop your research question and determine your keyword choices.  Learn to think big and small, and use synonyms (get ready to use a thesaurus!to brainstorm different keywords to describe your topic. Keyword brainstorming will come in handy before starting your research. 

In particular, as you watch this video, consider how concepts or keywords can be broadened (made bigger) or narrowed (made smaller).  For example:  Animal > Dog > Labrador Retriever.