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SOC 1010

Introduction to Sociology

Brainstorming Keywords

Before searching for articles, you will need to choose your topic, identify ideas or concepts related to your topic, and brainstorm keywords.

What are the major ideas that you need information about?
  • Specific topic
  • Diversity Issue
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Gender
    • LGBTQ+ / Sexuality / Sexual Orientation
    • Race / Ethnicity
    • Religious Beliefs
    • Socioeconomic Class / Poverty

Tips for Database Searching

Phrases as Keywords

Add "quotation marks" around phrases. This tells the database (or search engine such as Google) to treat the phrase as one term (rather than searching for each word individually).

Advanced Search

Using the "Advanced Search" option allows you to put each keyword in its own search box, which makes it easier to change out keywords for synonyms, narrower or broader terms, etc. It also gives options for limiting your search results by date, source type, and others.

AND, OR, NOT

Use database search tools AND, OR, and NOT (as drop downs in Advanced Search or between keywords in the search bar):

  • AND = will only show results that include BOTH terms

  • OR = will show results if they have at least one of the terms

  • NOT = will exclude results that use that term

Subject Terms

Subject terms (also called "subjects" or "controlled vocabulary") are the database's "official" keywords assigned to topics. When searching with subjects, your results will most likely be more precise and relevant. You can find subject terms in a few places:

  • Database record for an article - these are often hyperlinked
  • Thesaurus / Subject Terms - databases have a searchable list of all subject terms (often available from the Advanced Search page or in the menu bar at the top)

Limits

Limits can be added using Advanced Search or from the search results page. Databases usually include options to limit by:

  • Full Text (only shows sources you can access immediately)
  • Peer Review
  • Publication Date
  • Source Type (such as Scholarly or Academic Journals, Newspapers, Magazines, Books, Dissertations, or Media)
  • Subjects