Skip to main content
University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

UGS 302 - Languages and Cultures of Amazonia - Epps

Start your Research

Find Background Information

If you use Wikipedia as a first step in your research, you are already using background information to get started with research.  Background information helps you:

  • pre-research your topic
  • learn more about theories and concepts
  • define terms
  • find lists of sources you can use for your own research
  • find key terms you can use to search for additional sources

Brainstorm Search Terms (Keywords)

Save time!

Library databases and Google can't be searched the same way so take a few moments to come up with a search strategy before diving into a database.


Sample topic:  The significance of Kuna chanting and if it is related to gender

Step 1:  Think about the key concepts of your topic and search those instead of an entire phrases or sentences.

  • Key concepts:  Kuna, chanting, gender

Step 2:   Think of other terms you could use that are synonyms or related.  This often requires that you do a little background research to learn more.

  • Other terms for Kuna  - cuna, Tules peoples, Buyana Kuna
  • Other terms for chanting - singing, lullabies
  • Other terms for gender - women, men, female, male

Step 3:  Connect your terms using AND and OR:

  • Example 1: Kuna AND chanting AND gender
  • Example 2: Kuna OR Cuna AND chanting OR lullabies AND women OR gender

Remember - 

  • AND narrows your topic (use AND between terms if you want them all to appear in your results)
  • OR broadens your topic (use OR between terms if you want any, not all, to appear in your results)

Ask a Librarian

Chat With Us

EID login required

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.