Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ENGL& 102: Semiotics of Popular Culture, with Jerrod Bohn: Tips for searching the library databases

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, look at your research topic, and develop a list of keywords or terms you can use and combine together to create a search strategy that will give you results relevant to what you need to know.  Some combinations work better than others but keep experimenting.  Do not keep trying the same two or three words together over and over.  Here are a few examples:

•  television AND rape culture

•  action movies AND representation AND race

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: 2015-2022)

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