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UGS 303: Modern Day Slavery - Prof. Melton

How to Search Library Databases

Brainstorm Search Terms (Keywords)

Library databases and Google can't be searched the same way so take a few moments to come up with a search strategy before diving into a database.

Example:

Topic:  Forced labor in Indonesia in the  clothing industry that are at the beginning of the Gap's supply chain

Step 1:  Think about the key concepts search those instead of an entire phrases or sentences.  Remember you may or may not find something specifically about your company so you can focus at the industry level.

  • Key concepts:  Indonesia, forced labor, clothing industry

Step 2:   Think of other terms you could use that are synonyms or words that represent a narrower or broader aspect of the topic.  This often requires that you do a little background research to learn more.

  • Other terms for clothing industry = apparel, textiles
  • Other terms for forced labor = sweatshops, labor, slavery, workers

‚ÄčStep 3:  Connect your terms using AND and OR:

  • Example 1: Indonesia AND clothing AND forced labor
  • Example 2: Indonesia AND clothing OR apparel OR textiles AND labor OR sweatshops OR workers

Remember - 

  • AND narrows your topic (use AND between terms if you want them all to appear in your results)
  • OR broadens your topic (use OR between terms if you want any, not all, to appear in your results)

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