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SOC& 101: Intro to Sociology, with Nomita Yadav: Searching a Library Database

Setting up your search

When you are searching ProQuest or Academic Search Premier, your goal is to get a reasonable number of articles that address your research topic.  Some tips: 

Before you start, examine your research topic, and brainstorm a list of words that you can use in your searches.  These search terms can be synonyms, names, places, events, publications, political or social movements, ideas, etc.  Here is an example of search terms if I was researching the challenges faced by homeless women:

women
females
gender
homelessness
discrimination
sexism
violence
poverty
health risks
social conditions
children
family

Focusing your search

Use the Advanced Search feature in the database and combine at least two keywords. Here's an example:

•  gender AND homeless* AND discriminat*

(The * is called truncation.  In this example, the truncation sign tells the database to find articles that have variations on the word, homeless and discriminate.  Using truncation, your results will include articles with the words:  homeless and homelessness and discriminate, discrimination, discriminating)

Use your list of search terms to try different combinations; some combinations will work better than others.  Be sure to combine words that make sense.

To narrow your results: 

√  Check the box called Academic (Peer Reviewed) Journals

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

√   Define a date range (for example: 2015 to 2020)

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