|Determine the key ideas and terms in your topic.||Example: I am interested in how fashion was depicted in American literature.|
|Think of synonyms or related terms.||clothing OR dress OR fashion OR garment OR purse|
|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" | "american literature"
|Join similar terms with OR||
"twentieth century" OR "20th century"
|Join dissimilar terms with AND||
(clothing OR dress) AND ("20th century" OR "twentieth century")
|Truncate a term (usually *)||femini* to search for feminine, femininity|
|Take advantage of controlled vocabulary. Look for subject terms or descriptors.||SU: Gender identity in literature | SU American literature -- history and criticism|
|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 using for determining who has referred to (cited) an article.|
If you are focusing on a specific time period, consider incorporating terminology to narrow down your search results. Limiting to a specific time period can often be a challenge.