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ENGL 300 Research Guide (Smith)


Welcome to the Library Resource Guide supporting Dr. Rochelle Smith's ENGL 300 class! This tabbed guide will help connect you to the FSU Ort Library's resources and give you tips about how to use them.

This page begins with some search strategy tips. Below you find:

  • Developing a Search Strategy for the Research Databases or OneSearch
  • A video helping with Boolean searching (an efficient way to search library research databases)

Developing a Search Strategy for the Research Databases or OneSearch

When searching the library research databases or the catalog, it's good to have a strategy. Unlike Google or Internet search engines, the databases and the catalog can't interpret natural language or strings of unconnected words. You should identify the key concepts in your thesis or research question and then brainstorm for a few alternative terms and synonyms that go along with them. Then you can connect and combine those terms in different ways using Boolean (see video in box below).

For example, you just read "The Wolves of Circassia" by Daniel Mason, and are interested in researching:

How is caregiving for dementia  portrayed in literature? 

The key concepts are obviously the words I underlined!

 It's good to have a few synonyms and related terms for your key concepts. They may also be helpful in your search!

caregiving: dementia
caregiver, caregivers, elder care, etc. Alzheimer's disease, memory loss, etc.

Now I can develop either a basic search statement:

 caregiving AND dementia

Or a more advanced search statement, throwing in some related terms and synonyms:

caregiv* AND (dementia OR Alzheimer)


Find out why I combined terms with AND and OR in the video below (capitalization and bold type just for emphasis)!

Boolean: Combining Keywords

This YouTube video from the University of Auckland, New Zealand demonstrates how to combine search keywords using the Boolean AND, OR, and NOT. It also shows you how to apply Boolean searching in a variety of database and catalog search screens.