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ENGL& 102: Making Reality: The Media, Society and Perception, with Rob Harrill: Search Tips

Keyword searching in a database

When searching a periodical database, like ProQuest or Academic Search Premier, your goal is to get a reasonable number (around 50) of highly relevant articles.  To do this, use the Advanced Search feature to combine keywords (names, places, events, ideas, synonyms, etc.) specific to your topic.  Before you start your search, examine your research topic, and generate a list of keywords to use and combine in your searches.  You'll find that some combinations work better than others, depending on the database.  Be sure to combine words that make sense.

Examples of keyword searches:

•  #metoo movement AND entertainment industry

•  journalism AND (bias OR subjectiv*)

(The * is called truncation.  In this example, the truncation sign tells the database to find articles that have variations on the word, stereotype, including stereotype, stereotypes, stereotyping)

Other ways to focus your searches:

√ Check the box that will limit your results to academic journals only

√ Check the box that will limit your results to full-text articles only

√ Define a date range (for example: 2010 to 2020)

√ Use their "Suggested Topics" or "Find More Like This" feature