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Search Strategies

Consider your search terms before you begin; think about alternative spellings, terms that have evolved over time, synonyms or alternative expressions, names, etc 

Keep it together

Put “Quotation Marks Around Your Search" to search for exact phrases, names of people, titles of films, e.g. "gender roles" 

Change it up

Use an asterisk(*) or truncation symbol to get variant spellings or variant ending for your keywords, e.g. feminis*

  • In this examples, the database would retrieve feminist, feminists, feminism, feminisms, etc

ANDs and ORs

You can use AND and OR to either connect multiple search terms or to use them as alternatives to make your searching quicker:

  • AND can be used to require all your terms appear together, e.g. "body positivity" AND women AND "social media" and feminis*
  • OR can be used to search for synonyms or multiple terms used for the same thing, use parentheses to add either thing to another word or term e.g. ("internalized sexism" OR "internalized misogyny") AND microaggressions 

Finding too little?

  • Consider your search terms, do you have lots of or very specific ones or are you working with expressions that have come into use recently (in the last 5 or 10 years, for example)? 
  • Try reducing the number of terms or looking for other ways of expressing your search

Finding too much?

  • Consider becoming more specific with your terms, e.g. for example, instead of women AND racism AND health, try narrowing to a specific group of women and example: "black women" AND discrimination AND access AND healthcare AND Canada*  



Articles, Books & More

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