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Urban and Public Affairs: Create a Plan

Brainstorm Keywords

Once you have identified a topic, select the terms and phrases that are essential to understanding the topic.

General Topic

   City Planning

Narrower Topics

   Central Business Districts

   Housing Policy

   Planned Communities


   Urban Transportation

Related Topics

   Public Administration

   Regional Planning

   Urban Policy


Combine Keywords

When researching, we are like detectives trying to combine the right terms in the right place to find the information we need. The Gathering Information page will help you to decide where to search, but how should you combine search terms to find what you are looking for?

Broad Search

Search for information using the single most important term related to your topic. Use this type of search when looking for basic background information.

Specific Search

Search for information by combining key concepts using the words you have brainstormed. Each concept/word should be separated by the word "AND". Use this kind of search when looking for specific evidence related to your claim/thesis.

Getting Too Many Irrelevant Results?

Add more search terms.

Getting Too Few Relevant Results?

Change or remove some search terms.

Important Terms

Controlled Vocabulary: Specific terms used by databases to standardize meaning and organize resources.

Peer Reviewed Articles: Articles that have been evaluated by other professionals in the field to check for accuracy and adherence to disciplinary standards.

Primary Sources: Event/topic related documents, recordings, artifacts, etc. that were produced during the time period being researched.

Scholarly Sources: Well researched sources that have been written for scholars, students, and experts in the discipline area.

Secondary Sources: Event/topic related sources that were written after the time period being researched.

Concept Map

A concept map is a graphical tool used to organize and structure knowledge.


How to Use a Concept Map

Created by Katherine Miller and Tom Childs for Douglas College Library. Creative Commons license Share Alike.