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ENG118: The Art of the Steal: Remixing, Originality, & Identity (J. Ruseski): Search Tips

Fall 2018: J. Ruseski

The Deep Web

A vast majority of the web (90%!) cannot be accessed via search engines like Google. (2.26 minutes) From Mashable.

Mind Mapping Worksheet

Search Tips

Searching By Keywords:

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.


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: Through the lens of feminism, I would like to learn about the research being done on the topic of the media's influence on the body image of women.

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

EXAMPLE:  feminism, body image, media, women


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.







body image



Add other term(s) to further narrow search





women OR woman OR female*

*=wildcard; will find variations at the end of a word. 


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:

(feminism) AND (body image) AND (media OR advertis* OR ads) AND (women OR woman OR female*)  

 Watch video (3 minutes):  Crafting a Savvy Search Strategy (UCLA Library)

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