Obviously, certain words are more effective than others for retrieving relevant information. When a professor assigns a research paper or a speech, the savvy student will be able to identify the keywords of the assignment. We must analyze, compare, contrast, critically evaluate, summarize, synthesize and metabolize information! Sound daunting? It may be at first but with some practice you whould be able to extract keywords or key concepts from a sentence, paragraph, or chapter of a book or journal article.
Keep in mind that many words have similar meanings and may be used interchangeably: teachers or educators - teenagers or adolescents - college or higher education. The little two word 'OR" in the middle of each means that we can search through a database and retrieve both terms. One simple OR and you may increase your search results by 50%!
McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) has developed a wonderful self-guided tutorial that covers these important topics in depth. Don't forget to take the short quiz at the end so that you are sure that you have mastered these essential tools. Click here for the tutorial!