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Prof. Mills: History of Photography - SPRING 2020: Develop a Search Strategy

Develop a Search Strategy

Search Strategies: using keywords, truncation, and synonyms:

Relevant keywords are necessary for effective research. You can start by taking keywords from your research question.

There are other ways to develop additional keywords.

1. Use synonyms and related concepts:  

Think of other words that mean the same or similar things as the words in your question. It can help to brainstorm before you begin your search.

Look at the subject terms in your search results and see if you can use any of those.

2. Use truncation: the computer will locate alternative endings for a word when you place an asterisk -- the * symbol -- at end of the root of a word.

For example, typing photo* will yield results for:

            photos     photography     photographs     photographer     photogenic

Typing histor* will yield results for:      

             history     historic     historian   

When searching, try different combinations of keywords. For example:

  • photo* AND history  (or photo* AND histor*)
  • portrait  AND composition
  • (name of photographer)  AND biography  (or biograph*)

Example of Searching a Database

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