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Celebrating the Life
Brainstorm and Use Keywords
1. Save time, Prepare to research!
  • Break your research question into key concepts (you'll connect these in your paper to make an original argument).
  • For each of these concepts, brainstorm multiple keywords.

Sample Topic:

women's relationship to marriage in Much Ado about Nothing

Key Concepts


Much Ado about Nothing

Related Keywords



"Much Ado about Nothing"

  • Try this keyword tool to brainstorm online and send the results to yourself.

2. Combine keywords using AND and OR:
  • Too many results? Try using quotation marks around an exact phrase. Ex: "Much Ado about Nothing"
  • Still too many results? Narrow using AND. Ex: "Much Ado about Nothing" AND marriage*
  • Too few results? Broaden using OR. Ex: "Much Ado about Nothing" AND (marriage* OR marital* OR wife* OR wives OR husband*)
  • Put parentheses around synonyms.
  • The asterisk finds multiple endings. Ex: wom* will bring back women, woman, women's, woman woman's, wombat, etc.

3. Brush up on the search tools available:
Find Reference Sources
Search the Catalog:
Use the Advanced Keyword search to search for title keywords including types of reference sources.
For example: t:shakespeare AND t:(encyclopedia OR dictionary OR guide)

You'll find sources like these:

Search Reference Databases:
Find Reference Databases from
Libraries homepage > Research Tools > Reference Sites, or
English Literature Research Guide > Reference Tools.

You'll find sources like these:
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library - a collection of articles from hundreds of specialized encyclopedias
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - the most trusted source of biographical information about important figures in British and colonial history; Tip: try searching for "much ado about nothing" in full text to see biographies of those who have acted in and produced Much Ado about Nothing since Shakespeare's writing
Find Scholarly Articles
Start here: www.lib.utexas.edu > Databases tab

Find an Article from a Citation:
  • If you find a good book or article, check the bibliography for other useful resources.  This guide helps you find an article when you only have the citation.

Where is the article?
  • If an article is not full-text in the database you are searching, follow the link to see if it is available in another database or in print in the library.
  • No button? Search for the article, chapter, or book title in quotation marks in the All tab on the Libraries home page. Or search for the journal or book title in the Library Catalog title search.
  • Not in the Catalog? Ask for help or request it through InterLibrary Services.
Find Books
Start here:  www.lib.utexas.edu > Catalog tab > Advanced Keyword Search

Find Books on a Topic:
  • To find books on your topic, start with the keyword search in the catalog. (ex: Shakespeare AND "Much Ado" AND (wom* OR gender* OR feminis*))
  • When you find a useful book, use the Subject Headings or other terms in the record in your keyword search to find more books on that same topic (ex: Shakespeare AND lovesick*)

Find a SpecificBook/Book by an Author:
  • Do an Author search with the last name first (ex: Shakespeare, William)
  • Do a Title search leaving off the initial article (a/an/the) (ex: "Much Ado about Nothing")

GoogleBooks (http://books.google.com)
  • Search inside hundreds of thousands of books for your topic, just as you would search Google.  If you find an excerpt from a book that might be useful, check the Library Catalog to see if we have it. Not in the Catalog? Ask for help or request it through InterLibrary Services.
Is it Scholarly?
Use this decision tree and grid to help determine if your source is scholarly:
Write & Cite
LAH Resources
Get Help
Contact your LAH102 librarian:

Kristen Hogan
English Literature & 
Women's & Gender Studies Librarian
English Literature Research Guide

IM a Librarian
Monday-Thursday, 10am - midnight
Friday, 10am - 4pm
Sunday, 6pm - midnight

Visit/Call PCL Research Help & Check Out Desk:
Hours, 512-495-4250
Find Articles tutorial

Find Books tutorial