BIOL 103: Introduction to Botany (Bodas)


Turn Starting Topics into Search Terms

Identify Keywords

Keywords are search terms that capture what you want to learn about.

Start with your topic. Identify just the key words. Sometimes that's easy and sometimes it's more difficult.

  • Ex: Topic is orchids OR bromeliads
    • Keywords: Orchids OR Bromeliads
  • Ex: Topic is Environmental effects of using biomass (plants) for fuel
    • Keywords might be biomass AND fuel AND environment*
  • Ex: Topic is Why plant biodiversity matters
    • Keywords: plant AND biodiversity

Important tips:

  • Add to your keyword list as you read and learn about your topic, especially in background sources like academic encyclopedias (reference). Pay attention to the ideas and terminology in those articles!
  • Keep your search words simple. Long natural phrases do not work as well.
  • Try a range of search terms! Some terms work better than others and different keywords will find you different articles.
  • In library research databases:
    • Search for synonyms or alternatives terms with OR. Ex: orchids OR bromeliads
    • Connect and focus keywords with AND. Ex: plant AND biodiversity
    • Put phrases in quotes. Ex: "urban farm*"
    • Truncate, aka, use the root of a word with * (shift 8) to search multiple forms of the word. Ex: farm* = farm or farming or farmer
  • Ask a librarian if you need help!

Source: "Searching Databases with Keywords" by lehmanlibrary , is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Research topics for Botany 103

  • Temperate and Tropical rainforests (We have temperate rainforests in western WA. Visit atleast one.)
  • Plants of Western Washington
  • Unusual plants
  • Medicinal uses of plants
  • Dendrochronology
  • Algae oil- Biofuel of the future
  • Sustainable agriculture OR Sustainable living
  • Plants in space research
  • Genetically modified/Genetically engineered plants
  • Ethnobotany
  • Why plant biodiversity matters
  • Effects of introduced plant species
  • Plants growing in extreme conditions
  • Economic importance (commercial uses) of algae
  • Economic importance (commercial uses) of fungi
  • Orchids and Bromeliads
  • Mangroves
  • Importance of spices
  • Bonsai
  • Challenge of forest conservation/ conservation biology
  • Indoor gardens and rooftop gardens. (Visit them and learn about them)
  • Community gardens. (Visit them and learn about them)
  • How to make a terrarium/bottle garden, container garden and rock garden. (Make one yourself)
  • Urban farms. (Visit them and learn about them)
  • Hydroponics & other unconventional ways of growing plants
  • Natural perfumes and aromatherapy
  • Plant tissue culture
  • Domestication of plants and origin of agriculture
  • What is ecological succession?
  • Environmental effects of using biomass (plants) for fuel
  • Seed Banks
  • Human impact on the world of plants
  • Keeping a nature journal. Create one throughout the quarter. Then share the journal and your experience with the class.