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ENGL 1A: (Lacrampe Winter 2022)

Examples of turning thesis statements or topic ideas into keywords

The examples below illustrate how a thesis or topic idea might be "translated" into keywords and then how to construct a search statement using those keywords. Being able to do this well is an important research skill. 

Example 1


For my position paper, I am choosing to write about how the Internet has led people to become more inquisitive. With the availability of so much information at your fingertips in this modern day compared to older times, people have become more curious about the surrounding world. When I was thinking of a topic to write about, this is the first thing that came to mind because for me at least this statement is true. I think many people will write about the internet in a negative light so I'm hoping this will be unique and interesting to a general reader. 

Idea into Concepts

The Internet has made people more inquisitive and curious.

Concepts into Keywords (search words)

Keyword 1. internet

Kewyord.2. inquisitive

Keyword 3. curious

Keywords into Search Statement

internet AND (inquisitive OR curio*)

The asterisk "*" at the end of curio is called a truncation symbol and tells the search engine to find all words beginning with the root word. For example, curio* will find books and/or articles with the words "curiosity," "curious," and others words beginning with curio. On most keyboards, the keys "Shift" and "8* are held down for the asterisk.

The AND command tells the search engine to find articles with both the words internet AND inquisitive

The OR command tells the search engine to find articles with inquisitive OR curious. In this case, place parentheses around "inquisitive OR curio*". The parentheses tell the search engine that both inquisitive and curious must be associated with internet. It is like there are two search statements: internet AND inquisitive, as well as internet AND curious.

Example 2


I'm going to write about how Instagram model accounts project unrealistic expectations onto young girls. I think that this topic will be interesting because it's very prevalent in our world today, apps like Instagram are being more and more used, both by celebrities and the general public. They affect us through a desire to fit in and look like something you're not, resulting in potential eating disorders, mental health issues, and self harm.

Idea Into Concepts

Instagram model accounts cause girls and young women to develop unrealistic expectations of self image, which can cause problems such as, self-harm, eating disorders, and mental health issues

Concepts into Keywords

Keyword 1. Instagram (because “Instagram model accounts” as stated in the idea above may be too specific and not find anything)

Keyword 2. self-image

Keyword 3. disorder

Keyword 4. mental health

Keyword 5. self harm

Keywords into Search Statement

instagram AND (self-image OR disord* OR mental health OR self-harm) 

The asterisk "*" at the end of disorder will find books and articles with the words, disorder and disorders.

In this case, place parentheses around "self-image OR disord* OR mental health OR self-harm".

Example 3


Constant communication in a romantic relationship in the modern era of phone technology is important to consider because the recent lifestyle of youth has changed drastically over the last decade with the introduction of social media. 

Idea into Concepts

Modern telephone technology allows constant communication between people and this has an impact on romantic relationships

Concepts into Keywords

Keyword 1. telephone

Keyword 2. communication

Keyword 3. romantic relationships

Keywords into Search Statement

telephone* AND communication AND romantic AND relationship*

Use the asterisk "*" as a truncation symbol to pick up plural form of relationship