Once you have identified a topic, select the terms and phrases that are essential to understanding the topic.
Topic – Because of the advancements made in structural design and engineered materials, there are likely other reasons why we still have reports of bridges collapsing in the United States.
Keywords: structural design, engineered materials, reasons, bridge collapse, United States
Once you have identified the keywords, find a way to think of related terms and phrases. If you are having trouble identifying additional keywords, thesauri, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and online encyclopedias like Wikipedia can be great places look for inspiration.
Using Database Subject Thesauri & Terms
Most databases have a subject thesaurus (list of subject terms used) that you can use to help generate more ideas for your research, and make your searches more precise. The words listed are generally 'broader', 'narrower', or 'related' terms to your topic.
For example: In the database Compendex, typing in "Artificial Intelligence" gives you the following - Used for: AI, Computational Intelligence
|Fuzzy control||Autonomous agents|
It is important to know when to broaden or narrow/limit your search. Broaden your search if you're not getting a lot of results
Ways of broadening a search:
Narrow or limit your search when - you have a very large number of hits, or if your search topic is very broad.
Ways of limiting/narrowing a search: