Identifying Concepts

Once you have stated your topic as a question, you need to identify the main concepts, or keywords, in the question.

Do this by picking out the significant terms in your question.

How does drinking influence driving?

What are the laws on drinking and driving?

What are the statistics on drinking and driving?

Once you have picked out the keywords in your questions, make a list of synonyms and related terms. This list may provide you with additional terms to use when searching for information. It may also suggest ways to narrow or broaden your topic.

For example:

alcoholism change DUI
substance abuse affect flying
intoxication result boating
inebriation cause machinery
addiction alter transportation

You will use the list of keywords you generate when you search for material in the library's online catalog, periodical indexes, and online databases.

Chapter 1 — Page 4