Topic selection II: Key words

In selecting a topic and defining it, we have to use what are called key words. These help us get to sources of information that allow us to dig deeper into a topic and make it easier to narrow it down or expand it. As their name implies, they’re like keys. How do we acquire them?  

First we have to realize what key words look like. They’re not the same as everything we enter into a search engine. For example, Google can manage a search query like “how to repot a plant”. On the contrary, sentences won’t help us much with scientific work and we need to find keys that capture the topic we’re searching for.  

There are typically three kinds of key words:  

  • Nouns – blog, family, youtuber, presentation, education, research, critique;  
  • Fixed phrases – artificial intelligence, key words, term paper, emotional intelligence, public transit, information literacy;  
  • Name, title – Peter Berger.  

When will you use key words in writing a scientific paper? In these three situations at least:  

  • In defining a topic as described in the Topic selection I article. This means that when you’re exploring a topic, expanding it or narrowing it down, you read through the sources that you’ve found via key words. Here you’ll also use your knowledge from the articles aboutInternet searches.  
  • In a way that is similar to searching for sources while working on a topic that is already defined.  
  • In finishing your paper, which you’ll add key words to. These will help readers find your text just like you’ve found your own sources. 

How else can we imagine key words or construct them?  

  • The core of the topic – religion, family, municipal parks, public transit;  
  • Place – Europe, Czech Republic;  
  • Target group – children, parents, teenagers, teachers;  
  • Time, period – communism, Second World War, post-1989;  
  • Method, form – critique, study, analysis;  
  • Tool, platform – YouTube, Twitter, Moodle;  
  • Approach, direction of thought – feminism, constructivism;  
  • People, groups – accursed poets, Jan Skácel, hipsters.  

What can key words look like when creating a topic?  

  • TopicAttitudes of students of a secondary school class towards the instruction of contemporary art via peer learning on Instagram.  
  • Key words for the articlestudents, secondary school, contemporary art, peer learning, Instagram.  
  • Accumulation of key words for searches: students, teenagers, secondary school, teaching, method, program, course, peer learning, Instagram, social networks, art, contemporary art, art education.  


  • TopicAnalysis of the contemporary YouTuber scene in the Czech Republic and viewership among students of a secondary school class.  
  • Key words for the articleanalysis, YouTubers, Czech Republic, viewership, secondary school.  
  • Accumulation of key words for searchesYouTubersCzech Republic.   


  • TopicTeachers as YouTubers and podcasters: attitudes of teachers of a secondary school towards new teaching methods.  
  • Key words for the articleattitudes, teacher, teaching method, YouTubers, podcasting, secondary school.  
  • Accumulation of key words for searchesteachers, YouTube, YouTubers, podcasting, teaching method, teaching.  


  • TopicStudents as YouTubers and podcasters: peer learning in the time of quarantine.  
  • Key words for the articlestudents, podcasting, peer learning, quarantine.  
  • Accumulation of key words for searches: YouTube, YouTubers, podcast, podcasting, peer learning, distance learning, quarantine.  


You can use various aids to create key words. Firstly, you can look at what key words are used in already published articles. Secondly, you can use thesauruses. Variations of words with the same meaning are good for searches, especially in English. You can  

Ukázka z webu Thesaurus - vyhledání synonym a antonym ke slovu “idea”. Zdroj: Thesaurus - Idea Synonyms, Idea Antonyms. Autor screenshotu: KISK.

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