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Women's History Month Resources: Research Starting Points & Search Strategies

March is Women's History Month, and UNLV Libraries wants to celebrate by sharing with you some of our women-focused research sources, including some unique resources only housed right here at UNLV.

Starting Your Women's History Research

Search Strategies:

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: feminismfeminine 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
"feminist theory"
"gender role"
"body image"
"gender identity"
"mass media"
"sexual harassment"
"equal rights"

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
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