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ENG119 (Spring 2018): Writing About Food: Get Started

Spring 2018, S. Eddy

Generating Search Terms (a.k.a. "key words")

From the Walter Clinton Jackson Library at the University of North Carolina Greensboro


  1. Doing "presearch" helps you to narrow your topic by finding out how much information is available to you, and if there is enough to support a paper within the page-limits you have been assigned.
  2. It helps you get an idea of which specific aspects of your topic you will want to do more detailed reading about.

-Adapted from Otis College of Art and Design, Information Literacy Research Strategies

The Deep Web

A vast majority of the web (90%!) cannot be accessed via search engines like Google. From Mashable.

Keywords vs. Subject Headings

KEYWORDS are words you come up with on your own, using the main concepts of your research question. Create synonyms of these concepts to create more. For example for "shrimp farm," you might also try "aquaculture" or "shellfish farm." Other examples:

  • "Keurig coffee machine*" AND environment*
  • iPhone* AND environment*
  • "shrimp farm*" AND environment*
  • ("greek yogurt" OR "greek yoghurt") AND environment*


SUBJECT HEADINGS are vocabulary a librarian assigns to different records in the catalog. You can find subject headings by finding an article that is relevant and looking at the subject headings that have been assigned to it. Use one or more to search via a keyword or subject heading search. 



Great keywords are your ticket to great search results!

vegetarianism locavorism veganism pescatarianism "paleo diet" “intuitive eating" "Greek yoghurt" "eggs" "clementines" "beef jerky" "food deserts" food AND affordability "food waste" "food fraud" "antibiotic use"AND "livestock" cost AND fresh AND "processed foods" treatment AND livestock "United States" AND "corn" OR "corn industry" " food education in secondary schools" "immigrant population" AND "restaurant business" OR "agriculture" AND "immigrant ban" OR "refugee ban" OR "immigration ban" "public school lunch" Meat AND regulation OR "big meat" environment* AND "factory farm*" AND regulation

Get help from Cat Hannula

Cat Hannula


Young Library 108

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