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EDUC 607: Higher Education in the US: Search Strategies

A guide to accompany Dr. Marie Martin's course.

Using Keywords

1. Generate a set of search terms related to your topic.  These will be the keywords with which you begin searching.

higher education            student life                 
college                           clubs                   dorms
university                       activities              dormitories

2. Combine your search terms using various strategies. 

Employ the AND operator to narrow your search to results that mention both keywords: university AND student life will capture items that discuss both concepts.

Use the OR operator to broaden your search by using variants or synonyms of the same keyword: college OR university OR higher education 

Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase: "higher education"  "student life"

Narrow Your Results

When finding primary sources, thing about specific events, specific people, dates or time periods, as well as the media you wish to interact with (text, image, sound, etc.) to narrow your results. 

Keywords vs Subjects/Topics

Many online archival and special collections use controlled vocabularies, aka subject headings or topics. Use these subjects and topics to narrow your results or to find new sources.