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HIST 4348 - Shakespeare's England

Search Tips

Not sure how to construct the right kind of search for finding specific eras, events, or people?  Try to focus your search on three keyword concepts:  Event, Text, and Topic.  See examples below.


  • Start with the general event, and then narrow it down to specifics.
  • Look for key people involved
  • Crusades
  • First Crusade
  • Pope Urban II
  • Primary sources
  • Secondary sources
  • Letters, treaties, diaries (primary source databases)
  • Biographies, scholarly articles, historiography (Historical Abstracts, JSTOR)
Topic Use a topic related to your central argument, such as:
  • Event(s)
  • Country
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Economy or Trade
  • Exploration
  • Reformation
  • England, Great Britain
  • Nobility, monarchy
  • Catholic, Protestant
  • New world, exiles

Then, think about how you can combine your keywords using AND or OR.

So how does this translate?  Let's say you were writing a paper the Reformation. Some of the searches you could try include:

  • Henry VIII AND reformation
  • Reformation AND Great Britain OR England (lower case will work, too - usually you don't need to capitalize)
  • Puritan AND Dutch OR Netherlands

Combining Search Terms

In an "Advanced Search" option, you can connect search terms the following ways:

AND - narrows your search results by looking for two (or more) keywords at the same time.
Example:  "inquisition" AND "spain" gets results that include both terms. Add a third term, for example, AND "moor*" to get even more specific results. (Note that "moor" has an asterisk - this gives you all variations of the word (see Truncation below).

OR - expands your search results by searching for more than one keyword at a time.
Example: "england" OR "great britain" searches for results that include either term.

NOT - narrows your search results by excluding specific words from your results.
Example: "medieval" NOT "gothic" will return results that mention medieval, but does not include "gothic." This option helps you eliminate irrelevant results from your search results.

Tip: use ONE search term per search box.


You can use truncation to search for all the endings of a word in one search. Most search tools use the asterisk (*), but some use and exclamation point (!) or dollar sign ($). Check the help function if your search isn't working.

Example: Shakespear* searches for Shakespear, Shakespeare, Shakespearean, Shakespeare's, etc.

Quotation Marks

Use these to limit your search to an exact phrase.

Example: "Elizabethan England" limits your search to the topic. (**Try Googling your name, or your professor's name, with and without question marks around the name).


A wildcard lets you search for different letters in a word. This can be useful to search for plurals and alternate spellings. A question mark is used in place of the letter.

Example: "wom?n" searches for "woman," "women," and "womyn."