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English 155 (Hatton): Search Strategies

Search Strategies

Determine the key ideas and terms in your topic. Example: I am interested in Toni Morrison's use of language in her novels
Think of synonyms or related terms. language OR diction OR tone
Select useful resources to search. Databases > Subject > Literature (other subject areas may include History - United States)
Construct a search strategy.  Start with keyword searching. Many databases default to a keyword search field.
Look for a phrase, using quotation marks.

"literary criticism"| "twentieth century"

Join similar terms with OR "twentieth century" OR "20th century"
Join dissimilar terms with AND

(language OR tone) AND "Toni Morrison"

Truncate a term (usually *) femini* to search for feminine, femininity
Take advantage of controlled vocabulary. Look for subject terms or descriptors. SU: magical realism | SU: Morrison, Toni (1931-2019)
Limit your search if needed e.g. by date, by format, the field being search. Too many results? Consider searching in a title or abstract field rather than the full-text.  Looking for primary materials during a specific time; limit by date.
Examine the bibliographies for relevant materials. Skim through the citation.  Then look up the known items using a search tool like Melvyl.
Find a great article?  See who else has cited it. Web of Science and Google Scholar are useful for determining who has referred to (cited) an article.  See the Cited By box.

Cited By

Found a great article and wonder who has since cited it?

Try Web of Science. (Works for Humanities subjects too!) Look up article by Title.  Find article citation in the results list.  Click on Times Cited link.

Try Google Scholar.  Type in the article title.  Find article citation in the results list.  Click on Cited By link.