Researching a Topic


Word Search or Idea Search

There are two ways to search for information: by word and by idea. In word searching, you choose the search terms. You have a lot of flexibility, but you must use different spellings and synonyms in order to match all the variations authors could use. Idea searching is very organized and uses only librarian-determined terms. You find your terms -- usually called Subjects or Descriptors -- and you search using them to get fewer, more focused results.

Try this:

Perform a word search using important terms that define your topic

Try Spelling Variations (e.g. liberalization, liberalisation)

Try Synonyms (e.g. liberalisation, privatisation, deregulation)

Search for variations by using 'OR' between the words. For example, 'liberalization or liberalisation or privatization or deregulation.'  You may need to try a variety of combinations and words until you find results that match what you are looking for.

Once you find an article or two that match what you are looking for, perform an idea search. To do an idea search, look at the article's subject headings and then use that word or phrase as a search by 'Subject / Descriptor'.  


Additional Search Suggestions:

Look at References - It might also help to track down the articles listed as References in the articles, books, and dissertations you find.

Investigate Authors - Do you know any authors who have written on your topic? Find a list of their other articles by searching databases; many databases let you search by Author.

Check Authors' Affiliations - Many people maintain lists of their articles on their home pages. If a Google search on your author's name doesn't work, search for the home page of the college or institution she works for. Then search that college's faculty directory to find your author's home page. Look for any list of her articles or publications; such a list is sometimes called a bibliography.


Citation only references

Once you find the needed articles, some may be full text but others might only be citations.  You can use the citation to search the library's list of ejournals, or utilize any of the links on the right to work with a librarian to help find the article.


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