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ANT 101: Honors Introduction to Anthropology: Search for Academic Sources in Library Databases

A guide to help with the research assignments in ANT 101. Fall 2017.

Identifying Keywords

Before you can begin searching for information in a print or online resource, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be found easily by scanning:

If you are still struggling, then try these suggestions:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms.
  • Find pictures related to your topic, then describe the picture.
  • Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend.

Search Tip - AND, OR, NOT

The important thing about Boolean operators is how they are interpreted by the search software.

AND combines terms-all specified terms must be present for the article/citation to be retrieved. This operator narrows a search.  Example:   dogs AND cats

OR creates sets of similar terms (or synonyms). This operator broadens a search.
Example:  colleges OR universities OR "higher education"

NOT eliminates a term from the search. (Use with caution.) Example:   animals  NOT  horses

Search Tip - Truncation

Truncation

Truncation is usually represented by an asterisk (*). To use truncation, enter the root of a search term and replace the ending with an *. EBSCOhost finds all forms of that word.

For example, type comput* to find the words computer or computing.

Note: The Truncation symbol (*) may also be used between words to match any word.

For example, a midsummer * dream will return results that contain the exact phrase, a midsummer night’s dream.

More Search Tips

These tips will work with most search engines in their basic search option.
Use the plus (+) and minus (-) signs in front of words to force their inclusion and/or exclusion in searches.
EXAMPLE:   +meat  -potatoes (NO space between the sign and the keyword)
 
Use double quotation marks (" ") around phrases to ensure they are searched exactly as is, with the words side by side in the same order.
EXAMPLE:   "bye bye miss american pie" (Do NOT put quotation marks around a single word.)
 
Put your most important keywords first in the stringEXAMPLE:   dog breed family pet choose
 
Type keywords and phrases in lower case to find both lower and upper case versions. Typing capital letters will usually return only an exact match
EXAMPLE:   president retrieves both president and President