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Eng 113 & Span 113 (Martin-Rodriguez): Search Terms & Search Strategies

Activity Spreadsheet

Try a search in a database that looks interesting and record what you were able to find on the spreadsheet.

What to include:

  • your research question or topic
  • possible keywords that you might use to search
  • what database you used (e.g., JSTOR, Melvyl, Academic Search Complete, Chicano Database, etc)
  • what did you find?

(We'll go through these step by step.)

Spreadsheet Link

Boolean Operators (AND/OR)

 

AND, OR

Join together search terms in a logical manner.

AND - narrows searches, used to join dissimilar terms
OR - broadens searches, used to join similar terms

Examples:

#1
"magical realism" AND gender

#2
womanhood OR femininity

#3
colonialism
AND
women OR females
AND
religion

 

Search Terms & Search Strategies

Before you search, pull out some relevant terms to start with in the databases. For example:

What is the significance of the sibling relationships depicted in The House on Mango Street?

significance -- meaning OR context OR symbolism 

sibling relationships -- sisters OR brothers OR siblings OR names of siblings, etc.

Phrase Searching

 

" "

To search for specific phrases, enclose them in quotation marks. The database will search for those words together in that order.

Examples:

“Chicana feminism”

“cultural shame”

“magical realism”

 

Truncation

 

TRUNCATION

Truncate a word in order to search for different forms of the same word. Many database use the asterisk * as the truncation symbol.

Example:

Truncate the word education educat* to search for educate, educates, education, educational etc.

Add the truncation symbol to the word cultur* to search for culture, cultures, cultural, etc.