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English 161: Writing about Film  

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Starting Out Print Page

Doing Research: An Introduction to the Concepts of Online Searching

Click above to start the Doing Research tutorial.

Tips for Searching Catalogs and Databases

In addition to the search techniques covered in the "Doing Reserach Tutorial" above, the following techniques can improve your success with online searching, whether you're searching a catalog for books or a database for articles:

  • Enter phrases in quotes:  "film noir" or "spaghetti western"
  • Use truncation symbols to search for alternate word endings: In most databases, entering cultur* searches for culture and cultural. 
  • If one term doesn't work, try a few others. Experiment with different vocabulary related to your topic. Brainstorm ideas for relevant keywords and use background sources such as CQ Researcher, Facts on File, Wikipedia and encyclopedias for suggestions.
  • Try using a couple of different databases.


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