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Creative Writing

Designed for creative writing students, this guide takes you through the Library’s resources to improve your research.

Research Strategies

Research Strategies

 

This page offers an overview of the best research strategies for use in databases or online.

For help navigating any EBSCOhost database (e.g., MLA International Bibliography, Humanities Full Text, Literary Reference Center Plus), see example images below.

Four Advanced Search Strategies

fOUR ADVANCED SEARCH STRATEGIES

 

There are four kinds of searching options. Good searchers are aware of each one and when and how to use them interchangeably or based on the database requirements.


  1. Word Strings:
    • Can also be thought of as building-block searching. Taking major words or phrases from a topic or a thesis, use them various combinations or with synonyms to search databases.
  2. Boolean searching:
    • Uses particular words to expand or narrow search results. (They are very useful in word strings.)  See a more detailed description in the next section.
  3. Changing Natural Language to Scholarly Language (or subject headings and sub-headings):
    • Scholars don’t always use words that everyone else does. Using language from class sessions, textbooks, and other scholarly sources can often reveal more resources. Subject headings should also be used, or at least kept in mind, when using databases like PubMed and Medline.
  4. Citation Pearl-Growing:
    • If a good and current article is found, explore the sources cited in footnotes or bibliographies. This can help in discovering primary authors doing research in the topic being researched, as well as other useful resources. Always be sure to evaluate the resource prior to use. Google Scholar's Cited by feature can also be used to discover what sources have cited the item being looked at, to trace forward in time the topic.

Accomplished and skilled researchers are able to determine basic aspects of database organization using multiple strategies like these. When researching it is useful to understand background information, bibliographies, and the vocabulary of the discipline. Use a wide variety of tools, use them wisely, and avoid depending on one specific source.

Boolean Search Basics

Boolean Search Basics

 

Basic Search Techniques

Basic Search Techniques

 

  • Add an asterisk (*) to the root of a search term. 
    • When applied to a root of a word, it will search for multiple forms of a word at one time.
      • immigra* = immigrant, immigration
      • polic* = policy, policies
  • Use quotation marks ("") around common or important phrases.
    • Sometimes, a keyword is really a key phrase. Quotation marks will ensure keywords are search for in the exact order desired.
      • "child development" or "climate change"
  • Add additional search terms.
    • If too many results (>200) are being found, add additional keywords or search terms.
  • Use limit/refine options
    • Results can be narrowed by limiting the date range, or to scholarly/academic journals (when needed), or to Full Text (when immediate access is desired without using Interlibrary Loan), or Source Type (journal article, newspaper, magazine, etc.).
  • Find the permalink
    • To avoid losing access to articles (even leaving a browser open to a particular article can be lost after a few hours!), look at the Detailed Record of an item for the permalink or persistent link. Do not use the link in the address bar!
    • The permalink will give permanent access to the citation or article. Save it! Email it! Copy it into a Word doc!

Searching EBSCOhost Databases

Searching EBSCOHost datABASES

 

These still images provide some captions to help you understand how to search smarter and more efficiently.

Entering Search terms in Academic Search Premier

 

Next, try other ways of narrowing by Source Type or access the PDF Full Text of the article or request through Interlibrary Loan.

Other Limits in ASP and how to access articles

General Research Tools

gENERAL rESEARCH TOOLS

Biography in Context

Biography in Context 

referenceProvides biographical information for thousands of significant people throughout history, around the world, and across disciplines and subjects.

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) 

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)Provides encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.

Contemporary Authors

Contemporary Authors 

referenceProvides biographical and bibliographical information and references to thousands of international authors.

Oxford Reference

Oxford Reference 

                            Offers multidisciplinary and cross-searchable dictionary and reference works published by Oxford University Press.

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