Keywords are the most important concepts in a research question. To identify the keywords from a research question:
--Ignore minor words and verbs
--Ignore generic words like effect, impact, cause, increase, decrease, best, etc.
--Try starting with just two concepts and then build from there
--Instead of including the age group or gender you are interested in, you may want to try using the limiters in the databases instead.
--Same with nursing: instead of including the words nurses or nurse's role in your search, try limiting your search results to nursing journals instead.
Once you identify the keywords in your question, it is essential to make a list of synonyms for each of your concepts. This is because there is likely to be more than one way to search for each concept in your question. You need to familiarize yourself with the keywords and terminology experts use for your topic so that you can find all the relevant literature.
--> Watch the brief video below to learn how to identify keywords in a research question.
Brock University Library. (2012, November 16). How to improve your search terms [Video]. YouTube.
NOTE TO BSN students: Your research question will most likely be structured in the PICO(T) format. See this handout for more information building a search strategy with PICO(T). Also check out the EBN guide.