Always think about different ways to say the same thing. Start with keywords to describe your topic, read abstracts, and look at the keywords the author included to identify additional possibilities (if needed).
- Place quotation marks around phrases, names, or titles
- Use the asterisk symbol (*) at the end of a word to retrieve variant endings of that word
- ex. femini* will retrieve: feminism, feminine or femininity
- Use a question mark within a word as a wildcard
- ex. wom?n will retrieve woman or women
Start with keywords (place phrases in quotes), use connectors (and / or) and look for the subject headings specific to each database.
Place phrases in quotes
How do I choose keywords for my searches?
- Words to include
For a Women's Studies or Women's History research topic, you would want to include, at the very least, women and the concept you are researching (e.g. business, education, equal rights, equal pay, etc.).
- Use quotation marks
If the concept you are using is longer than one word, you can optimize your search by putting quotation marks around it. Using quotation marks will ensure that the database finds results that use that exact phrase. (e.g. "equal rights", "equal pay")
- Use AND
To search for women and the concept together, you need to link your search terms with and. This strategy will narrow your search.
women and "equal rights"
Found too many results?
- Add more keywords
If you find that you are retrieving too many results, try adding more keywords to further narrow your topic.
women and "equal rights" and workplace
Found too few results?
- Use OR
If you aren't finding much information about a particular concept you can try broadening your search by using or to link your terms. This strategy will broaden your search because it will return results that mention either "equal rights" or equality.
women and ("equal rights" or equality) and workplace