1. Task definition & Identifying keywords and phrases.

From the Big6 Skills PDF:

1. Task Definition
1.1 Define the information problem
1.2 Identify information needed (to solve the information problem)
o What is my current task?
o What are some topics or questions I need to answer?
o What information will I need?


Before you start researching, make sure you: 

  1. Read your question or topic carefully.
  2. Understand what you are supposed to do.
  3. Make a list of information and/or questions that you feel you will need to answer your topic.
  4. Generate a list of keywords and subject headings that will help you complete your search.

Learn about Keywords & Subject Headings

  1. Click HERE to watch a three minute video about keywords and subject headings.
  2. Keeping track of keywords and subject headings will help you work out the keywords that bring up the best search results. List:
    initial words, phrases, topics or concepts;
    similar terms or synonyms;
    broader terms – general information e.g. if you are looking at a specific author, you might also look at the genre of book that author writes;
    narrower terms – be specific – if you are finding too many sources, try narrower keywords, e.g. if you’re researching Vietnam War, you might want to narrow it down to a country, battle or person;
    related terms – words that are connected in some way – if you are not finding enough sources or if they are not relevant, try keywords that are related to your topic, e.g. instead of searching for Sputnik, you can also look for information on artificial satellites.
    Click HERE for a keyword graphic organizer for your topic.
    Click HERE for a keyword graphic organizer for different sources. 

Identifying Keywords & Phrases

Need help identifying keywords and subject headings … try the following:

  • Scan your research questions or topic
  • Highlight words/phrases in articles/information on the topic
  • Look up the dictionary for meanings
  • Look at the references listed at the end of books/articles
  • Identify synonyms, use a thesaurus or Snappy Words
  • Find images related to your topic, then label them
  • How would you tag a photo on Instagram?
  • Brainstorm keywords/phrases with others
  • What #hashtag would you use?
  • Create a mind map
  • Use a keyword generator