- 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.
women's bodies in the Decameron
- Try this keyword tool to brainstorm online and send the results to yourself.
2. Combine keywords using AND and OR:
- Too many results? Narrow using AND. Ex: Decameron AND women
- Too few results? Broaden using OR. Ex: Decameron AND (wom* OR female* OR gender*)
- Put parentheses around synonyms.
- The asterisk finds multiple endings. Ex: wom* will bring back women, woman's, wombat, etc.
3. Brush up on the search tools available:
Learn about concepts, vocabulary, and events related to your texts.
Find keywords to search in subject-specific databases.
Here are some good places to start:
- Gale Virtual Reference Library. Subject-specific encyclopedias
- American National Biography. Biographical sketches of US authors.
- Dictionary of Literary Biography. Outlines of authors' careers with bibliographies and historical events.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB). Biographical sketches of British authors.
- Catalog search for your topic and encyclopedia, biography, or bibliography. Ex: "jane austen" AND (encyclopedia OR biography OR bibliography).
www.lib.utexas.edu > Research Tools > Research by Subject > English Literature RG (Research Guide)
- Does the Catalog or database record you have found include full text? (Look for an HTML or PDF link.)
- If not, does the record have a button?
- If yes, click the button to see if we have access to the electronic or print versions.
- If not, copy the title of the journal or book (not the article or chapter) and use the Library Catalog title search.
Undergraduate Writing Center: Drop in or make an appointment to visit with a trained writing consultant.