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FYSM-110-01-F22 (Catrino): Keyword Brainstorm

Simplified research question:

What is the purpose of higher education, to educate students or to prepare them for the workforce?

Complete assignment prompt:

You’re studying at a liberal arts institution? Why? These questions may seem very familiar… There are many critics of a liberal arts education who express that there is not sufficient skill development to provide graduates with a job upon graduation. On the other side, advocates of the liberal arts firmly believe that the primary role of college is to develop a deep knowledge that provides lifetime benefits. So what’s the role of higher education? Is higher education only about enriching the mind, developing skills, and future growth or is higher education only about getting a job and/or a future career? Or…could it be a combination of the two? There is no right answer.

Take a position on either side of the above debate. Remember, you must discuss the benefits of the liberal arts or the detriments of a liberal arts education as it applies to the future of work. Your argument should be supported by two articles discovered in research and analysis on the state of the liberal arts and the future of work.


Synonyms are different ways to express the same idea. 

  • Examples: Higher education, college, university, and ivory tower

Sometimes, synonyms can be more specific types of the same thing.

  • For example, a liberal arts college, community college, and land-grant university are all specific types of higher education.

Often, synonyms include technical or scientific names.

  • For example, viral rhinitis is a scientific name for the common cold.
  • In the field of education, an R1 institution is a university that grants PhDs and spends a considerable amount of money on research, as determined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Related Terms 

Related terms, meanwhile, are keywords that can focus or broaden your main idea.

  • Affected Groups
    • Note how these examples go from broad to narrow: college students, STEM students, engineering students, female engineering students, female mechanical engineering students, first-generation female mechanical engineering students
  • Context
    • This could be a geographic location, i.e., United States, New England, Connecticut
    • It could be a time period, i.e. during the pandemic or during an economic recession or in a specific date range (2008-2010).
    • It could be a particular institutional context, like an all women's college or a private liberal arts college. 
    • It could also be the academic discipline you're using to situate your research, i.e. sociology versus education versus psychology.

Find General Information

These websites are freely available, and quite useful for beginning your research. They can help you identify keywords, narrow down your topic, and direct you to more relevant resources: