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ART345 Portraiture (2016): Tips for Your Research

A guide for students in Kathleen Nolan's class, created by Librarian Maryke Barber

Choosing and Narrowing a Research Topic & Question

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:

How to search

AND, OR, & NOT (also known as "Boolean operators") help you combine search words, to find what you are looking for. Watch this video to find out how it works:

Adapted from the materials created by The University of Auckland Library, NZ. This video is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.

Did you know?

Searching  for information is about recognizing potential:

Linked with permission from UNC Library.

Smart Searching Tips

Create a list of key words, and try different key words in your searches:

Who, what, where, when....topics, names and places are all good key words, so are titles, events or historical periods, genres/styles/other categories, expert terms.
Add to your list by looking for:

  • Subject terms in the catalog and databases.
  • related terms (cover design - bookmaking)
  • synonyms (washi - japanese paper)

No results? Search more broadly: 

Try your search using fewer terms, or change to broader terms: for example, use the term artist (broad), instead of just papermaker (narrow).

Too many results? Narrow down by adding something:

Try combining  search words, using "and" in between: bookmaking and leather

Search Tools

Combine your terms using "AND":

women and artists and origami


Use the *  (asterisk) wildcard, to search several terms at once.

paper* = paper, papers, papermaking, papercutting, etc.

Use quotation marks to enclose a phrase:

"United States Navy"