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Wellesley College Research Guides

CAMS 210: Social Histories of Computing

From Keywords to Search Strategy

Try this interactive tutorial to learn about and practice developing good search strategies.

  • On each page of the tutorial, wait for the prompt before moving to the next page.
  • When prompted to open up a database on the final page, try Wellesley's SuperSearch or one of the databases on this guide.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike by The WI+RE Team 2020, UCLA Library.

Search Tips

Developing good search terms and combining them in meaningful ways can be key to finding the most relevant results. Make note of keywords and subject terms that come up in your initial searches and readings, and try a variety of search combinations. The following strategies work in SuperSearch and most library databases.

  • Use quotation marks " " to search words as a phrase. This will narrow your results.

"video games"

  • Use AND to combine multiple concepts in your search. This will narrow your results.

gender AND "video games"

  • Use OR to find different ways your search terms might be expressed or different aspects of a topic that might be interchangeable for your purposes. This will expand your results. Group these related terms in parentheses, so the database interprets them first. The following search will find results that contain any of the phrases in parentheses along with gender.

gender AND ("video games" OR "computer games" OR "console games")

  • Use an asterisk * to find variant endings (e.g., gender, gendered, feminine, femininity, etc.). This will expand your results, because again, you're providing more options.

(gender* OR feminin* OR masculin* OR transgender)  AND ("video games" OR "computer games")