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English & Literature: Search Tips

Robeson Community College Library's guide to English and literature resources

Basic Search Tips

Determine the type of information or evidence you need to solve your information problem or prove your argument or thesis.

Formulate a research question or thesis statement.

Brainstorm keywords and their synonyms. Consider the controlled vocabulary (standard subject headings) of the field as well as natural keyword searches. Browse through the metadata (e.g. abstract, field descriptors, and subject headings) from journal articles in the field to get a better idea of the controlled vocabulary of the field. 

Test your keyword searches in applicable databases.

Refine your search terms, as need.

Use Advanced Search features to combine terms using Boolean Operators, such as AND/OR/NOT, and limit sources by type and date.

Video: Refining Search Results | Credo Instruct

Video: Refining Search Results

Database Search Tips | MIT Libraries