Skip to Main Content

Library Tutorial for STEM & ENGR


1. WATCH: Two-minute video from Augustana Library on Key Concepts and Keywords.

Why does it matter?

Taking a few minutes to determine the main ideas in your Big Question and brainstorm some related terms will make your searching more effective.  

2. ASK YOURSELF: What are the main ideas/concepts in your Big Question? What search terms do you think will get you the most relevant results?

EXAMPLE: See the example below for how to determine the key concepts in your research question. Your key concepts are your first search terms. From these terms, brainstorm additional related terms to increase your ability to find relevant sources.


example question what effect is ocean acidification having on salmon populations? Additional keywords: excess carbon dioxide, water chemistry, pH, Chinook, marine wildlife, spawning

Click the Next button to continue the tutorial