chat loading...
Skip to main content

FYS: The Power of Passion and the Passion for Power (2020): Getting Started

This guide is for students in Profe Ridley's FYS.

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators help you when searching.  The most popular operators are: AND, OR, NOT.  

AND narrows your search, OR expands your search, NOT limits your search

.

Use the asterisk * to truncate a word and search for all forms.

Ex. Invent* will give you: Invent, Invents, Inventor, Invention


Use the question mark ? as a wildcard symbol.

Ex. Wom?n will search: woman & women

Use quotes to search for a specific phrase rather than just keywords

Ex. "Frog King" will search for the phrase rather than pulling every result that has "frog" and "king" somewhere in the record.

Brainstorming keywords

Library databases are organized around concepts and in order to effectively search a database you will need to use keywords that represent your topic.  When you begin your research first identify key concepts.  Once you know what those are you can begin brainstorming keywords.  Be sure to think of some keywords that are broader and some that are more narrow. 

 

 

Exploring your topic with Yewno

Yewno Widget

What makes good keywords?

Searching is an iterative process, meaning you will need to search multiple times to find the information you need. Start with broad searches (one or two terms) then add more if needed, and be sure to mix up your keywords. Below is a list of terms or topics that can help you create good keywords:

  • People (e.g. authors, characters, scholars)
  • Themes/Theories (e.g. homosexuality, women of color)
  • Titles
  • Genres

Using synonyms is also important. Not returning results for "young adult"? Try "fiction", "novel", or "literature" and see if that changes your results. 

Have You Applied Yet?

Smart Searching Tips

Try different key words in your searches:

  • People, types or names (Nuns, Isabella of Castile)
  • Places (Europe, Argentina)
  • Time periods or events (Middle Ages, 20th century)
  • Things
  • Categories

Add to your list by looking for:

  • Subject terms in the catalog and databases.
  • related terms (queen - royalty)
  • synonyms (medieval - middle ages)

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 painter (narrow).

Too many results? Narrow down by adding something:

Try combining  search words, using "and" in between: nuns and education

Search Tools

Combine your terms using "AND":

women and marriage and property

 

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

educ* = educated, education, educator, etc.
 

Use quotation marks to enclose a phrase:

"voting rights"