Skip to Main Content

LANG 1002 - English for University Studies I : Concepts & Keywords

Mind Mapping Video

No ideas on how to turn a broad topic into a research question? Click "Start" to find out.

This video shows you how mind mapping helps you turn a broad topic into a good research question.

Concepts & Keywords

Identify Main Concepts and Keywords

The best way to search most databases is by keywords. You need to "translate" your research question to concepts and keywords to help the database understand what you are looking for.


Your topic:

Introduce a game-changing idea and explain its impact

The main concepts are:

game-changing, game-changer

What does game-changer/game-changing mean?

Definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary:

a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way

What other terms people may use to describe these concepts:

  • accelerating technology/innovation
  • disruptive technology/innovation
  • revolutionary idea/concept/product
  • inventions/innovations/product/technology that changed our world

Search strategies

  1. General search on "game changer",  "inventions that changed the world", "top innovations", "top inventions", etc.
  2. Find some articles which provides overviews on what product/technology/idea people considered to be revolutionary or lead to profound impact in our lives (e.g., how we travel, communicate, purchase goods & services, study, work, etc.) and why, such as
  3. Consult Starting Points for the Second Assessed Writing Task. or Ideas or Inspirations section of this course guide
  4. Identify the product/idea/idea/technology you want to focus on.
  5. Gather articles to support your opinions and arguments


Tips on searching databases and Google:

  1. Phrase search: use double quotes to specify a phrase
  2. Connect the main concepts by boolean operators : AND, OR



If a distinct term is made up of very common word, enclose them in double quotes " "  to search as a phrase: "social network"

AND  - all terms should appear in the results, e.g.,

facebook AND communication

OR - any one or all of the terms will apper in the result, connect terms with similar meanings, e.g.,

"social media" OR "social network"

Combine AND, OR to form powerful searches, use () to group similar concepts, e.g.,

(facebook OR twitter OR "social media" OR "social network") AND (communication OR relationship OR interaction)



  • Don't make your search too long and complicated like (facebook OR twtitter OR "social media" OR "social network") and (communication OR interaction OR relationship) AND(political OR "viral marketing" OR privacy)
  • Tackle ONE aspect (focus area) at a time.
  • Consult a thesaurus (a special type of dictionary) to find a group of words with similar meanings.
© HKUST Library, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. All Rights Reserved.