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Diversity/Women's Studies 200 with Sharon Reitman: Researching the Final Project

Choosing a Topic

Trying to choose a topic? Think back on your favorite readings from the quarter or browse the articles and websites on the Violence & ProtectionWomen's Bodies, or Explore More Issues pages of this site for ideas. Choose something YOU find interesting and are curious to know more about.

Still unsure? Make an appointment with your librarian for a consultation in person or online.

Where to Search

For articles:

For books:

Keywords

KEYWORDS are the terms related to your topic that you use to create searches. It's important to try a variety of keywords, and to broaden and narrow your search appropriately. So if you're thinking about researching media representations of female rape victimsbegin by brainstorming alternate keywords for those terms:

Broad Term Related Narrower
MEDIA TELEVISION, FILM, MOVIES, PUBLISHING CRIME TV SHOWS, NEWS MEDIA, SOCIAL MEDIA
FEMALE  WOMEN GIRLS, COLLEGE STUDENTS, TEENAGERS, ADOLESCENTS
RAPE SEXUAL VIOLENCE DATE RAPE, ACQUAINTANCE RAPE, MOLESTATION, GROPING

Then, combine keywords to create searches to use in Google (if you want websites and popular articles) or our Databases (if you want journal and magazine articles):

"SEXUAL VIOLENCE" AND "SOCIAL MEDIA"

"ACQUAINTANCE RAPE" AND FEMALE COLLEGE STUDENTS AND TELEVISION

RAPE AND CRIME TV SHOWS

Quotation marks search as phrase, meaning "CRIME TV SHOWS" will only return results with those words in that order, which severely narrows your search, so use them wisely! "SOCIAL MEDIA" in quotes is a good idea, "WOMEN RAPE VICTIMS DEPICTION IN TELEVISION" is NOT a good idea as those words are unlikely to appear in exactly that order.

AND narrows your search [results will include ALL terms]

OR broadens your search [results will include EITHER term]

Use them together:

(women OR girls) AND "sexual violence" AND media

[the same as searching women AND "sexual violence" AND media + girls AND "sexual violence" AND media]

Evaluating Sources

In the course, your sources may come from popular media, blogs, or social media. Make sure that you are taking the source into consideration in your project. If you are getting facts from a source, ensure that it is credible. If you are analyzing or critiquing a source, make sure it's clear in your project that you understand the limitations of that source. 

Before using a source for factual information, ask yourself:

Is this information up-to date?

Does it give evidence or a citation?

Does the author of the source identify themself and do they have credentials about the topic they are discussing?

Does the resource exist to make money or to educate or for some other purpose?

If you need help determining if a source is credible, please email Haley or Chat with a Librarian 24/7.

Need Help?

Library Reference Desk: 425.640.1472 | Chat online: Ask-a-Librarian