You can use your topic or research question to generate keywords.
Topic: Role of women in post-colonial Senegal as depicted in the film ''Faat Kine.''
Search: Women AND Senegal
Search: Women AND Africa
Search: Women AND Faat Kine
Search: Women AND Africa AND Film
Topic: Landscape in the work of Petrach
Search: Petrarch AND Landscape
Search: Italian Landscape AND Literature
Search: Nature AND Petrarch
Developing a list of keywords for your project is vital for your research, for your note taking and for shaping your final paper. A keyword is simply an important word or short phrase relating to your research. Keywords can be a person's name, a place, an organization or a subject. You can often use keywords to conduct a search of the library's catalog, databases, and JumpStart. As you begin to research your topic, you will discover additional keywords that describe your subject. Some words may no longer be in popular use ("Great War" for World War I), but may at one time have been standard. Such words or phrases will be important if you attempt to find older resources.
As you search and find new materials, keep track of words and phrases that appear in titles or in the subject fields of books or articles. They can serve as new keywords to use as you search. It also may be helpful to consult a thesaurus for additional help in brainstorming keywords.