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Supply Chain Management - Spero

Resources for completing the research assignments for Prof. Spero's Introduction to Supply Chain Management

Selecting Keywords

Keywords are the search terms you use to find information online or in a library database. When you search a library database or internet search engine, the search matches your keywords with the words that are in article and book titles, or that are found in the full-text of articles or webpages. 

The best keywords are not always the exact words that are in your topic. Try to think of synonyms, related terms, or different phrases for the same or similar idea in your topic, and try searching a variety of keywords, especially if your first searches do not get the results you need.

Synonyms

For example, your assigned topic is the impact of the 1980 federal motor carrier act. Try the Google search below for "1980 federal motor carrier act" and notice the various terms for this act.

Google Web Search

"Motor Carrier Act of 1980" appears most often, and is probably your best keyword for this idea. One website notes that the act is also known as the 'Motor Carrier Regulatory Reform and Modernization Act," so you should make a note of this as another possible keyword. 

More specific keywords

Sometimes the words or ideas in your initial research topic are too broad to retrieve any useful results. Consider the assigned topic for your individual paper and presentation:

How has Amazon used the supply chain function as a component of its business strategy?

First, you will need to break down this topic into the smaller issues. One of those smaller issues may be "Amazon's business strategy." But this is a very broad concept. In order to understand how supply chain is part of that, you may need to first understand what are some of the specific aspects of Amazon's business strategy. Once you identify specific business strategies used by Amazon, for example, expanding fulfillment centers, you can do further research on how supply chain management relates to that strategy. Your new keywords are "expanding fulfillment centers" or "fulfillment center expansion."