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HIS 300

A guide to HIS 300 research worksheets.

Keywords vs subject headings

Keywords are simply search terms that you generate yourself-- whatever initial words or phrases you can think of to describe your topic.  Do consider brainstorming keywords both for your topic very broadly and also for more specific people, places, things, events etc. that you might be interested in learning more about.

Subject Headings are standardized phrases developed to describe topics.  You can't brainstorm subject headings, you need to find them as you do your research.  See the page on Subject Headings for more info.

Boolean searching

Boolean searching uses the words AND, OR, and NOT to help you manipulate your searches.

There is a video on the Databases page that illustrates using Boolean searching in databases.

AND is used to make sure multiple words or phrases all appear in all the search results.

  • epidemics AND vaccines (when you want to make sure your sources address both)

OR is used to search for variant terminology, like synonyms and related terms

  • capital punishment OR death penalty (to bring back results using either phrase)

NOT is remove results that are related to your topic, but not quite right

  • epidemics NOT flu (If you are researching epidemics, but keep getting sources on the flu, which you don't want)

"  "   Quotation marks  aren't actually part of Boolean searching, but they are essential.  They make sure words are searched as exact phrase.

  • "cold war"  (so it doesn't bring back every source that uses either just the word cold or the word war)
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