Skip to Main Content

ENGL& 102: Fairy Tales, Folktales, Myths, and Legends, with Martha Nagel: 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:

If you are looking for literary criticism, use the title of the fairy tale in your search and include a term that explores that fairy tale through a specific lens:

•  bluebeard AND male violence

If you are looking for articles and research for your contemporary element, do not use the title of your fairy tale but use words to capture the conflict or issue you are researching

•  #metoo movement AND male violence

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: 2010-2020)

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