How to Select Keywords


The quality and value of the results of a keyword search is directly related to the keywords which are chosen. Whereas other attributes of funded grants, such as research location or funding program, are well defined, the nature of a particular research project may be quite subjective and open to interpretation. There is no code or word which can precisely classify the nature of a research project.

The search engine looks to match keywords in three places, the project title, a list of free format keywords suggested by the investigator, and in the project abstract. Some of these data elements may not be present for some projects.

Because a keyword search simply matches on a character string, no assumption should be made with respect to the absolute accuracy and comprehensiveness of the results. The resultant report should be considered as providing "suggestions" or "possibilities" rather than answers. Some of the "matching" projects may not be matches at all and some "real" matches may not be included.

For example, a search for the keyword "liver" would "match" a project with a title that includes the word "delivery", even though that project bears no relationship whatsoever to the topic "liver". This is a false match. Conversely, a search using the keyword "cancer" will not report a match on a project which includes the word "tumour" but not the word "cancer". In this case, a "real" match is not reported.

Some guidelines for choosing keywords in searches are as follows:
  1. Specify multiple keywords, any of which might be related to your topic. For example, if the topic is "circulatory diseases", your list might include keywords such as "heart", "coronary", "stroke", "blood", etc.
  2. The data which is searched for a match, the project title, abstract and researcher keywords, is available only in the language submitted by the researcher in the application for funding. i.e. in either English or French, not both. Therefore, it is advantageous to search for words in either language. If your English keyword is "aids", it is best to also search for the French equivalent, "sida". When a keyword is added to a query via the "Common Keywords" link, the translation is automatically included.
  3. Try to choose keywords which are "long enough" but not "too long". Short keywords may result in many false matches, while long ones may be overly specific and exclude valid matches. Trial and error is often the best way to get good results.
  4. Avoid needless repetition. For example, if you specify the keyword "clinic", there is no need to also request "clinical". Any match that would be found with the latter, would already be found with the former.