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.
|Topic||Use a topic related to your central argument, such as:
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 origins of the U.S. Civil War. Some of the searches you could try include:
Use these to limit your search to an exact phrase.
Example: "Antebellum South" limits your search to the topic. (**Try Googling your name, or your professor's name, with and without question marks around the name).
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: "jacob astor" AND "fur trade" gets results that include both terms. Add a third term, for example, AND "explor*" to get even more specific results. (Note that "explor" 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: "native american" OR "american indian" searches for results that include either term.
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.
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."