Keywords are the words you use to search for information. It is helpful to identify synonyms for the most important words in your research question because, unlike Google, most Library databases do not search for synonyms. Developing alternate keywords and combining them in a variety of ways will give you a broader range of information and sources.
Example research question:
Should Civil War statues be removed?
Identify the most important words in your research question and develop synonyms for them.
|War Between the States
|Union / Confederacy
Use different combinations of the words in your table to search the Library's databases. Try it for yourself with this worksheet!
Concept mapping is a visual, non-linear way of organizing notes and ideas. It works by triggering word associations and helps you explore facets of a topic that might not be immediately apparent. It starts with a central idea or concept that grows to include all relevant and related questions.
For more information on how to make a concept map, see RISD's "Concept Mapping" Handout (pictured below). To make a concept map, use diagrams.net, a free website that lets you choose from a variety of flowcharts and diagrams.