What are you looking for? Every search engine asks you "What are you looking for?" and you must put into words the ideas you are seeking. A good place to start is by deconstructing your research question (also known as your topic).
Suppose you are looking for articles on the impact of drugs or chemicals being leached or released into the water supply.
Find the main ideas in this search topic/question: the impact of drugs or chemicals being leached or released into the water supply
There are 2 big ideas: drugs or chemicals and the water supply.
You are looking for the connections or relationship between the 2 big ideas: impact when leached or released.
Wherever you search, you enter words that you hope/expect will retrieve the best or just right sources and information. Building a list of words and terms that are linked to your topic is a basic step to successful research!
Step 1: Begin with your task and topic.
Read over your task as assigned. Look for any words that express the main concepts.
Step 2: Generate additional keywords.
Brainstorm more terms you can use in searching and writing. There are specific strategies you can use to help you with this step.
Step 3: Add to your list of keywords throughout your search.
As you search and read articles, you will encounter new ways of talking about ideas related to your search. Add to your list.
Remember: The words on your list will help you find the BEST information possible. These same words will help you write (create) your best product (essay, presentation, speech).