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Feminist Studies: Keyword Searching

This guide is designed for all researchers, beginning and advanced. It is a starting point for all aspects of women's, feminist, and gender studies research. FEMINIST STUDIES 182 and 280A students are especially encouraged to start here.

OBJECTIVES & STRATEGIES

OBJECTIVES

  • To get a small group of relevant records.
  • To locate sources that will enhance your understanding and analysis of one or more aspects of your complex research question and topic statement.

STRATEGIES

  • Keyword (start with) vs. subject searching (end with for efficient and more relevant results)
  • Use keywords that describe what you are looking for.
  • Be specific.
  • Do multiple searches, using different combinations of keywords.
  • Synonyms are your friends; there are many ways to say the same thing.
  • Bibliographic records and reference books are good sources of keywords you haven't though of.

KEYWORDS CAN BE...

  • Names and other proper nouns
  • Titles
  • Organizations
  • Authors
  • People
  • Places
  • Ethnicities
  • Geographic regions
  • Historical periods
  • Specific policies
  • Specific legislation or laws
  • Events
  • Professions
  • Theories
  • Issues
  • Types of information (e.g., oral history, statistics)
  • Anything and more
  • THINK CREATIVELY

SAMPLE KEYWORDS

General keywords that can be used in combination with more specific keywords related to many topics.

  • SOURCES (the Library of Congress subject heading for primary sources)
  • public polic*
  • government*
  • politic*
  • econom*
  • reform
  • history
  • gender, women, feminis*
  • rights
  • conditions
  • legal, laws, or legislation
  • case studies
  • attitudes
  • psycholog*

Forms and strategies of resistance by women prisoners?

  • activism of women prisoners
  • incarcerated women
  • women inmates
  • women prison* AND united states AND resist*
  • women prison* AND united states AND activi*
  • women prison* AND united states AND protest*

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