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ENG 251: Survey of World Literature I: Literary Analysis and Historical Research - (Leask - AL)

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Database Search Tips

Words in the Search Box

  • Select the fewest words possible to type into the search box -- just the concepts most important to your topic.
  • Put the word AND between each new idea: dorothy AND wizard of oz
  • Use synonyms and related terms -- all authors will not use exactly the same words to describe your topic.
  • Use quotation marks with phrases:  "star wars"
  • Truncate with an asterisk (*) to find articles with different endings of the same word:  transform*  will find articles with the word transform, transforms, transformed, transforming, or transformation.

For example, if researching Dorothy's journey in the Wizard of Oz, the most important words are Dorothy, Wizard of oz, and several possible synonyms/related terms for journey
Here are some examples of what that would look like in a database search box:

Dorothy AND wizard of oz
dorothy AND oz
dorothy AND oz AND journey
dorothy AND oz AND transform*

dorothy AND oz AND quest
dorothy AND oz AND home

dorothy AND oz AND (journey OR transform* OR home OR quest OR adventure)


  • Full Text - makes sure all articles in your list of results include the complete text of the article.
  • Source Type (e.g., Scholarly, Magazine, Newspaper)