Identifying key concepts

Identifying the key concepts of your topic makes it more manageable and leads you to specific subject terms, keywords and synonyms that you can use when you begin searching for information.

A research topic usually has more than one key concept (often three or four). These are considered to be underlying ideas that you will discuss throughout your assignment.

Example

Your topic is the effects of media coverage and public polling during an election campaign.

There are three main concepts in this topic:
  • Media coverage
  • Public opinion polling
  • Election campaign
For each of these concepts, it is possible to identify keywords and synonyms:
  • Media coverage: mass media, television, newspapers, radio
  • Public opinion polling: surveys, polls, election forecasting
  • Election campaign: political campaigning, political parties, election debates