Skip to main content
Armacost Library
Ask Us

ENGL 201: Critical Reading: Search Strategies

This is a research guide to accompany ENGL 201.

Using Keywords

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

M. Butterfly                     adaptation            literary criticism        
David Henry Hwang         production             literary analysis              
cultural stereotypes         interpretation         cultural theory   
orientalism                      performance         post-colonialism      
gender                            stage design                    
transgender

 

2. Combine your search terms using various strategies. 

Employ the AND operator to narrow your search to results that mention both keywords: cultural stereotypes AND orientalism will capture items that discuss both concepts.

Use the OR operator to broaden your search by using variants or synonyms of the same keyword: Monsieur Butterfly OR M. Butterfly 

The asterisk (*) is a wildcard symbol that is used to catch variants of a word: postcolonial* captures items with keywords that begin with postcolonial--  (postcolonialism, postcolonial, etc.).  

Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase: "cultural stereotype", "cultural theory"

Boolean Searching Basics

Keywords vs Subject Headings

When using disciplinary databases, such as MLA International Bibliography, you will notice that some of your keywords will point you to relevant subject headings. Use these subject headings to narrow your results or find new sources.