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TD 311C - Performance as Public Practice / Curran, Prendergast, & Darlington

Preparing to Search

Preparing to Search

Sometimes, you find exactly what you need with your first search. But it often doesn't work out that way! Try this step-by-step brainstorm before you search the library catalog or databases. 

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:

   Depictions of women experiencing pain in literature

Key Concepts

women

pain

literature

Related Keywords

wom*
female*
femenin*
gender*

ill*
disease
sick
medic*
 

fiction
poetry
essay OR memoir

  • This keyword tool is designed to help you think about the essential parts of your topic, identify additional terms, and construct a search statement.


2. Combine keywords using AND and OR:

  • Too many results? Try using quotation marks around an exact phrase. Ex: "women's health"
  • Still too many results? Narrow using AND. Ex: wom*n AND illness
  • Too few results? Broaden using OR. Ex: (wom*n OR female*) AND (pain OR ill* OR disease)
  • Put parentheses around synonyms.
  • The asterisk finds multiple endings from a root word. Ex: wom* will bring back women, woman's, wombat, etc.


3. Brush up on the search tools available:

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