Skip to main content

First-Year Programs Introduction to the Arts and Sciences- Oakland Campus

A guide listing library assignment instructions, tutorial, and resources for the 2017 First Year Programs classes.

The Research Process

As you begin your studies and research papers, note that research is a process. You will likely use library resources such as PITTCat+ and library databases to conduct background research, refine your topic, and search for sources. If you have any questions, please be sure to Ask Us!

Selecting Keywords

The search terms or keywords you use to search are what determine the results you get.  Here's a good exercise to help you generate keywords:

1. Express your topic in a topic sentence: “What is the effect of television violence on children?”

2. Generate keyword search terms by identifying the main ideas or concepts within that topic sentence:  “What is the effect of television violence on children?” = Effect, Television, Violence, or Television violence and Children

3. Expand your search terms by brainstorming related terms or synonyms that describe your main ideas:

  • Television; media, TV,
  • Violence; aggression,
  • Effect; influence,
  • Children; toddlers, youngsters, boys, girls

Tip!

Tip: Keep in mind that keywords are tricky, they will evolve and you'll likely come across better ones as you begin searching. The more you search and learn about your topic, the easier it will be to develop keywords.

For more practice, watch this video from the University of Houston Libraries to learn more about this process.