Home | My Account | Sitemap | Ask a Librarian
University of Texas Libraries
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 bodies in the Decameron

Key Concepts



Related Keywords




  • 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:
Find Background Information
Background Information can save you time by giving you an overview of your topic.
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:
Find Articles, Books, Chapters, Reviews, &...
For literary scholarship & primary texts, take a look at the catalog, indexes, & databases on the English Literature Research Guide:
www.lib.utexas.edu > Research Tools > Research by SubjectEnglish Literature RG (Research Guide)

What other fields relate to your research question? Check out other Research Guides by Subject for useful databases and tips.
www.lib.utexas.edu > Research Tools > Research by Subject

Where is the article, chapter, book, or other material?
  1. Does the Catalog or database record you have found include full text? (Look for an HTML or PDF link.)
  2. 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.
  3. Can't find the text in electronic or print library material? Ask for help or request it through InterLibrary Services.
Evaluate Articles & Books
Try these grids and decision trees:
Write & Cite
Cite Your Sources:  A grid to help you choose the right citation tool and help using them.  Includes information about NoodleBib, which helps you format APA, MLA and Chicago style bibliographies you can download as Word documents and turn in.

Undergraduate Writing Center:  Drop in or make an appointment to visit with a trained writing consultant.
Get Help
Contact the course 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
Build Your Research Skills
Need to build your research skills? Check out the UT Libraries resources for undergraduates.
www.lib.utexas.edu > Resources for You > Undergraduates

Find text and videos to help you when you need to:
Find Background Information
Generate Keywords
Find Articles
Find Books
& More
Find Books Video Tutorial
Find Articles Video Tutorial