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FYS171: The Science of Superheroes: Search Tips

Fall 2017, M. Barresi

Search Tips

Whether you are searching for books in the Five College Library Catalog, or searching for scholarly articles in a library database, 
it pays to be organized as you start your search. Break down searching into a three step process.

STEP 1
Write down as much information about your topic as possible. Answer the following questions:

  • What is your topic?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What do you know? What don't you know?

Then, try to summarize what you are looking for in one or two sentences.

EXAMPLE: I would like to find information (articles, books, etc.) about science and superheroes.

STEP 2
Using the information in Step 1, list the main concepts of your topic.

EXAMPLE: superheroes, science, science fiction

STEP 3
Now create a list of synonyms of your key concepts. Think broadly, think narrowly! This step is helping you expand your search
by expressing your query in a variety of ways. If you get too many results, then you can work on focusing your search.

superhero*

Wonder Woman

Superman

Comics


Science Fiction



 

 

 

science

physics

biology

physiology




*=wildcard; will find variations in a word. 

 

 

Add other terms to narrow topic further:

?????      

 

 

 

 

You will use the word lists you developed in Step 3 to create search strategies. Use "OR" between synonyms and "AND" between
concepts. For instance:

(superhero* OR Wonder Woman OR Superman) AND science 

 

 

Science and Engineering Research Help

Rocco Piccinino's picture
Rocco Piccinino
Contact:
413-585-2951
rpiccini@smith.edu
Young Library 106