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Find Background Information
Fill in those gaps in knowledge with background information which helps with keyword brainstorming, identifying important names, dates, and events, identifying various aspects of your topic and narrowing your topic.

Keywords and Database Search Strategies
How to Generate Keywords

  • Use this online tool to create an effective keyword search for your research topic
  • Email the results to yourself
  • Then launch that search in the Library Catalog (to find books) or Academic Search Complete (to find popular and scholarly articles)
Find Articles on a Topic - 3 Options
I.  Library Article Databases
Choose a database to search for articles from scholarly or non-scholarly sources on different topics.

Databases by Subject: databases organized by academic discipline.
         Ex.: Choose PsycInfo for scholarly articles from psychology

Multi-disciplinary Databases: databases which cover numerous academic disciplines.
        Ex.: Academic Search Complete includes scholarly & non-scholarly articles from all disciplines

TIP: To find out what a database contains, click About next to the database name.

II.  Google Scholar
Google Scholar uses Google's search engine to return results for scholarly articles, books and reports.

TIP:  Search GoogleScholar through the Libraries Web Site (from the databases page under G) so that when you find something useful, you are connected to the resources of the Libraries rather than being asked to pay.

Search most, but not all, library content at once and use the limiters on the left side bar after your search to narrow down to the type of article you want.

Start here:  www.lib.utexas.edu > LibSearch Box > Articles tab
Get the Article
If the article is not full-text in the database you are searching, you have three options:
  • Follow Find it at UT to see if it is available in another database or in print in the library.
  • Search for the title of the journal (not the title of the article) in the Library Catalog (use both boxes) to find it online or in print.
  • If we do not own the article in any format, place an Interlibrary Loan request for it. We will get the article from a partner library and email you when it arrives.  Free and unlimited.
Google Search Tips
Narrow your results using these tips:
  • Search for an exact phrase by putting your search terms in quotation marks (ex: “commodity chain”)  
  • Search only a specific site (ex: usda.gov) or domain (ex:.org) by typing in your search followed by site:.org, site:.gov (ex: coffee imports site:usda.gov)
  • Eliminate results from a specific site (ex: .com) by typing in your search followed by -.com
  • Find out who links to a site, who the site links to and similar sites by using info:url (ex: info:www.utexas.edu)
  • Find out who owns a domain/URL at http://whois.net
  • Other Google Search Tips:  Be an Advanced Google Searcher
Evaluate Websites and Articles
Popular, Scholarly or Trade? - criteria to help you determine whether you are looking at a journal or magazine

Evaluate Web Sites
- use these criteria to evaluate web sites 
Write and Cite
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Writing Help:
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