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SHB ENG281 and HIS221: Advanced Research: Keywords

Can I have a keyword please?

A keyword is a word that you commonly use to describe your subject.   When you search a catalog or database, your search results are a list of books or articles that match the keywords you used.  Finding the right words is the "key" to successful research!

Ways to brainstorm keywords:

  • Ask yourself questions about your topic and write down words that you use. 
  • Do some background reading on your topic--from encyclopedias, news articles, text books, etc. Add words you find to your list.
  • Consult a thesaurus or dictionary for synonyms for your terms, such as Bartleby Reference.
  • Use broader terms that encompass your topic and carefully scan the results for information relating to your topic.

Remember, the library staff is very happy to help brainstorm search terms if you get stuck!

Constructing a search from your question

How does corporate America use schools to market to young  children?

Concept 1


Concept 2


Concept 3























"girls and boys"













Now you try it...

About the novel "Regeneration:" The novel explores the experience of British army officers being treated for shell shock during World War I at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh. Inspired by her grandfather's experience of World War I, Barker draws extensively on first person narratives from the period. Using these sources, she created characters based on historical individuals present at the hospital including poets and patients, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, and psychologist W.H.R. Rivers, who pioneered treatments of posttraumatic stress disorder during and after WWI.

What keywords might have been used to retrieve the following articles?

Steffens, Karolyn. "Communicating Trauma: Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy And W.H.R. Rivers's Psychoanalytic Method." Journal Of Modern Literature 37.3 (2014): 36-55. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.

Barrett, Michèle. "Pat Barker's "Regeneration" Trilogy And The Freudianization Of Shell Shock." Contemporary Literature 53.2 (2012): 237-260. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.

Mukherjee, Ankhi. "Stammering To Story: Neurosis And Narration In Pat Barker's 'Regeneration.'." Critique 43.1 (2001): 49. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.