INTL 349U Gender and International Development: Search Techniques

Guide to the online course INTL 349: Gender and International Development.


Be sure to use Caps for AND, OR, NOT when searching.

AND - searches for books and articles containing both terms. Example: China AND dance

OR - searches for one of the words. Example: British OR English

NOT - exclude a term. Example:  Music NOT punk

Parenthetical notes () - excellent for OR or NOT searches. Like a math equation, the database will do this part first.
Example: (British OR English) AND Music = search for British or English Music.
Example: (Oregon NOT Portland) AND Crime = search for crime in Oregon, excluding Portland.

Quotation Marks ""- Links words together in the search. Works best for phrases or proper names.
Example: "United States"
Example: "Portland State University"
Warning: You might exclude results. A search for "Chester Arthur" will exclude all results for "Chester A. Arthur."

Asterisk * - Allows you to search several word endings at once, without using OR.
Example: America* will give you results for America, American, Americans.
Example: Danc* will give you results for Dance, Dancing, Dancers.
Example: Brit* will give you British, Britain, Brits.
Warning: You may get unexpected results. Brit* will also yield Brittany, Britons, and Britches.


Choosing your search terms

Searching for proper names and nouns is fairly easy. Countries are straight foward:
"United States"
These terms are set by the Library of Congress, so we use the named used by the State Department. While China calls itself "The People's Republic of China," the Library of Congress simply uses the term "China."

Abstract concepts are difficult to quantify, so try general keywords like:
Cultur* (which covers culture, cultures, cultural)
Value* (which covers value and values)
Belief* (which covers belief and beliefs)

For a video providing additional information, see PSU Library Developing Your Search tutorial video.