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:
Use this checklist as you consider topics:
___ Did you review the expectations for the paper/project? Does your topic meet the expectations?
___ Is your topic interesting to you?
___ Will you be able to find enough quality sources on this topic? (see video below)
___ If the paper/project requires you to write at length--let's say 5 pages--ask yourself if you can write 5 pages of quality content on your topic?
As you consider these questions, do some preliminary reading about your topic. Even brief background reading (CQ Researcher/Points of View/Wikipedia) will help you understand some of the basic concepts, terms and scope of your topic.
Source: NCSU Libraries
These sources will give you an overview of a topic and some ideas of ways that you can pursue the topic in more detail.
As discussed in the video on this page, Using Wikipedia in Academic Research, you should use background research to locate key information, including the following:
The short video also discusses the techniques for finding this information. Check it out!