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Writing About Writing (WAW) for WRI 1/10

Library resources and perspectives for Writing about Writing (WAW)

Research Process

If you want to review search strategies, this video covers three which you can apply in your database searches. (3:04).


AND (Boolean operator) Joins dissimilar terms or concepts with AND.




OR (Boolean operator) Joins similar terms or concepts with OR. writing OR composing broadens
" " (phrase searching) Place two or more words in double quotes to search for those terms in that specific order.

"first-generation student"

"writer's block"

"creative writing process"

* (truncation) Shorten the end of a word and replace with an asterisk to search for varied endings of that word.

persuas* to search for persuasion, persuasive ...

compos* to search for compose, composing, composition, compositions ...



Identify suitable databases for your research question.  Will you explore both multidisciplinary and discipline focused databases? See the Information Landscape tab on this guide for more information on locating journals and databases.

Suggested Databases & Catalogs

You may find that you use multiple strategies in a single search. Example:

writing OR composing




"college student" OR undergraduate*

Here is an example of this search in Academic Search Complete with writing OR composing limited to the Title field.  This is a narrowing strategy.

screenshot of a search in Academic Search Complete

After trying an initial search, skim and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What keywords or phrases are researchers using that may relate to my research question?
  2. Are these results relevant?  If not, how might I change my search?
  3. Do I need to broaden or narrow my search?

Try other searches.