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Resources for researching topics in history

Creating a Good Search

  1. State your topic or research question in your own words.
  2. Identify the most important keywords (usually the nouns) or short, commonly used phrases.
  3. Think of variations (singular, plural) and synonyms for your terms. It may help to check
  4. Create an initial search statement using connectors or logical operators (especially AND, OR) and, if appropriate, wildcards.
  5. Try it out in one or more databases and/or Library Catalog.
  6. Look for other good keywords and subject terms in search results.
  7. Try revised searches until you're satisfied with the results.
  8. Depending on the volume of results, consider narrowing or broadening your topic.
  9. If you're having difficulties, contact us.

Find more (broaden your results) with OR and wildcards:

trabaj* or labor*

Find less (narrow your results) with AND:
autobiography and slave*

Find less with NOT:
revolution not france

Find less by selecting limiters (peer-reviewed, date, etc.).

Some databases require quotation marks for an "exact phrase".

If you're not finding enough, try simplifying your search, and remove less critical keywords or concepts.

(1:57) Learn how logical operators AND and OR work to help you get good results in library research databases.

(2:05) Learn how to retrieve varying forms of a word and improve search results.

Finding Scholarly Articles on Your Topic

These tutorials include practice in Neumann Library web-based resources and self-quiz questions to help you check your understanding.

See also:

What is Peer Review? What is a Scholarly Article?

Peer review is the process where experts from the same subject field or profession as the author evaluate a manuscript before it is accepted for publication in an academic or scholarly journal.

Peer-reviewed journals also may be called refereed journals.

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