1. To find a play, do a keyword search – NOT a title search.
Plays are often published in collections (sample title: “25 best plays of 2010”) and if you do a title search, you may not find them. A key word search for the title of a play will find it, even if the play title is only listed in the table of contents.
2. Library catalogs use specific spelling and terminology:
Theater = performance, Drama = literature. When searching for information about a play, don’t forget to do a search using Drama, which will yield different but equally interesting results.
3. Use brainstorming to help you develop search words.
There are many possible search words for finding information about a play.
4. If one search word yields bad results, change words.
Example: if you don’t get useful results with a search for “avant-garde theatre”, try searching “experimental theatre” instead.
|TOO MANY RESULTS?||NOT ENOUGH RESULTS?|
|1. Find a relevant result, and follow the linked subject term to find more materials on exactly that topic.||1. Try using different search terms: substitute women for female, drama for theater, etc. Different search terms can be words that are related to your subject, or words that are exact synonyms.|
|2. Get specific: add more information, example theater and france and 16th century||2. Try using broader search terms: substitute psychology for alienation, or production for lighting.|
|3. Try a different place to look: our librarians can help you choose which databases are most appropriate for your research, and which search terms will get the best results.|
Note that author search means works by a person, and subject search means works about a person.
Need to work on your research question? These videos will walk you through settling on a good topic, then refining it into a research question that works: