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ANT 112 - Desert Vista: Search Strategy Using the Databases

Key Word Searching

State Your Topic as a Question:

  • For instance, if you are interested in finding out about inequality, phrase your question:  Is there inequality toward women that are forced into prostitution?
  • Identify the keywords for searching in your question:  "inequality" and "prostitut*

Finding Too Much Information?

  • If you are finding too many sources, narrow your topic by using the "and" operator.
  • "Inequality and prostitution"

Too Little Information?

  • Broaden your topic or select a different one.  Link similar words with the "or" operator.


Special Search Strategy

Truncation: *

  • The asterisk * is a common symbol used to represent any number of letters at the ends of words

  • Helps find singulars, plurals, and variant endings of words

  • Example: docu* finds documents, document, documentation, documented


  • Most databases let you limit search results. Some limiters include:

    • Language  

    • Publication type..such as Peer-Reviewed or Scholarly Journals.

    • Date of Publication

‚ÄčPhrases: " "

  • Enclose phrases in quotation marks when searching the Web or most databases. 

  • From Ebsco Help: "When your search string includes phrases, the default search order is that phrases are searched in the order in which they are typed in and with the words right next to each other. It is recommended that phrases be enclosed in quotations marks when included in searches. Phrase searching in individual databases may vary." 

  • Example: "sex workers"

  • Example: "child labor"