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Hope Library Guides

HIST 140 - Gibbs - Religion, Politics and Society in Europe, 1500-1800: General Search Tips

This is a guide for Professor Janis Gibbs history workshop.

Research tips

-Brainstorm different search terms that relate to your topic (try to think of broader concepts that relate to your topic, and more specific concepts that relate to your topic; surround your topic!)

-Don't forget to try multiple searches using different combinations of search terms AND try multiple searches in different places (different databases, catalogs, Internet, etc.) AND try different combinations of keywords and Subject Headings (when available)

-Try to get an understanding of the scholarly conversation relating to your topic that has already occurred, then figure out how you can add to that scholarly conversation.

-Keep a record of what search terms you use, and keep track of each source you are considering using. Keeping your research organized will save you time and effort!


Important Process for Research Success: Generating Keyword Process

  1. Write out your research question. For example: "How does exercise affect the mental health of college students?"
  2. Pull out the most important words from your research question. exercise, mental health, and college students.
  3. Think of synonyms for these keywords.  Exercise: workout, fitness. College students: university students, post-secondary students.
  4. Think of broader keywords. Mental health: well-being. Broader keywords are helpful if you aren't getting enough results.
  5. Think of narrower keywords. Mental health: anxiety. Narrower keywords are helpful if you're getting too many results.
  6. Start searching a library database or research tool with your keywords. Remember to try out different keyword combinations to get the best search results.
  7. Collect additional keywords as you search.


Searching with keywords and synonyms - IME 553 - Production Systems -  LibGuides at Wichita State University