Using Google to your advantage: Keywords for effective research

 ‘Google it!’

I am sure we have heard this ample number of times and our dependency on Google is not hidden under any circumstances. While doing research for our research papers we are expecting to enter a keyword and all the information appears on our screens, but this isn’t the truth.

Doing a literature search is the most important stage of any research process. One step to go about this is to use Google Scholar instead of Google. However, simply doing the same type of research on Google Scholar will not give efficient results. It is important to know the keywords to use to get the optimal results. Keywords are the major concepts and terms that you use to conduct research.

  • Make a note of what you would like to learn as part of your research. Begin by generating general information and understanding of your topic. Then break it into sub-topics. Look for subtitles or key terms that correspond to your research. After that, create a list of keywords of key phrases to find information on each sub-topic
  • Once keywords are determined and are typed in the search engine, Google Scholar assist by showing related queries
  • When used on a regular basis, Google remembers key terms and suggests keywords during future searches.
  • Try using the advanced search option to search for a particular author or a time period.
  • Try different keywords and new combinations of them. Remember, it will take several revisions of the search keyword before finding the desired publication on top of your search results.
  • You can also set up email alerts for specific keywords on Google Scholar.
  • The bottom of the search result page shows related search keywords. Try to use these if you cannot find what you are looking for.
  • Effective keywords start with the title.
  • One way to refine the keyword search is to use Boolean operators. These help to combine keywords find variations and expand or limit the search results.
  • Use ‘and’ or ‘+’ to include both keywords
    • Use ‘or’ to find synonyms
    • Use ‘not’ or ‘-‘ to search for the first word without the second
  • Run your list of keywords through ‘Google Trends’. Google Trends is a free service that puts keywords into context by mapping where the terms were used. If you are trying to write on a current topic, and your graph for a particular keyword is flat or diminishing, don’t use that keyword.

We hope that you have learnt how to successfully use Google for your benefit when it comes to doing a research.

You can thank us later!