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English 190 (Garcia, Spring 2024)

Search Strategies

Determine the key ideas and terms in your topic. Example: I am interested in how Blake's depiction of animals has influenced twentieth and twenty-first century artists.
Think of synonyms or related terms. animals OR monsters OR name of specific animal
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

(animal OR lion) 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: Animals in literature | SU: Blake, William, 1757-1827 Exhibitions
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 UC Library Search.
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.

Leveraging the Web

You may find leads for various resources by looking at course syllabi, bibliographies, archives at universities, and digitized resources from organizations.  Here are a few sample searches to illustrate how you might use the free web in a savvy way.

Citation trails

To read about citation trails and how they can help your research, click here for a guide: