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BIOL 20: Ecological Biology - Library Research Help

This course guide will help Biology 20 students think about their research ideas and complete the required worksheet for class credit.

Developing Keywords for Searching

What keywords should you use to search? Here are some tips:

  1. Write down your research questions or hypothesis. A research question or hypothesis is an entire statement, not just words.
    1. Example of a hypothesis: The extinction of butterflies is a result of habitat loss.
    2. Example of a research question: What impact does habitat loss have on butterflies?
  2. Generate potential keywords:
    1. Take your research question or hypothesis and pull out only the nouns.
      1. Nouns from the hypothesis: extinction, butterflies, habitat loss
      2. Nouns from the research question: habitat loss, butterflies
    2. For each of the nouns, write down other potential keywords
      1. Synonyms. Example: extinction = dying out; vanishing; death
      2. Common/colloquial name v. scientific name. Science has specific names for plants and animals. Be sure to figure out what those are. Example: butterflies = Rhopalocera ; Monarch Butterfly = Danaus plexippus
      3. Acronyms or abbreviations. Be sure to spell these out. Example = NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association)