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English 190 (Goggans): What search strategies should I pursue?

Senior Thesis

Search Strategies

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 useful for determining who has referred to (cited) an article.  See the Cited By box.

Time Periods

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.

Cited By

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

"From the dust bowl to California: The beautiful fraud" by Teisch The Midwest Quarterly 1998.

  • Try Google Scholar.  Type in the article title.  Find article citation in the results list.  Click on Cited By link.
  • Try Web of Science.  Look up article by Title.  Find article citation in the results list.  Click on Times Cited link.