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El Paso Community College
Library Research Guides

ENGL 1302 - Composition II (Gloria Estrada): Create a Keyword List

Use this guide to help you find library resources for your research paper.

Finding Keywords

Once you have found your topic:

  • Write it down on a sheet of paper.
  • Look at the topic and make sure it makes sense. 
  • Does it meet all of the requirements of the assignment?
  • Look at your topic and begin breaking it down into words.
  • These are called Keywords.

Example:  Diabetes and Obesity in Mexican American children who live in El Paso, Texas.

When you break the topic down into words,  come up with as many words as you can to describe your topic.  The background information that you read on the topic can help you think of keywords.

For the example above: 

  • Diabetes
    • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Obesity
    • Overweight
    • BMI (Body Mass Index)
  • Mexican American
    • Hispanic
    • Latino
  • Children
    • Infant
    • Toddler
    • Adolescent
    • Teenager
    • Young Adult
  • El Paso
    • Texas
    • Southwest
    • Border

The list contains the words from the topic that was written down, but it also has additional words that can be used to describe the topic.   Example: If you don't find any resources that talk about El Paso, you can try the words Southwest or Border or Texas.

If you need help finding keywords to use, ask a librarian for help.



In some cases, you may need to try singular and plural versions of the same word for example: Diabetes, Diabetic, and Diabetics.

You can search for all of these at the same time by putting the root part of the word and an *.

Example: Diabet* will search for all words that begin with those four letters: Diabetes, Diabetic, and Diabetics.

Try: Diabet* and Obesity and Hispanic



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