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Determine which of the following is the main subject of your research:
- Are you looking for works by the author?
- Are you looking for works about the author?
- Locating reviews.
- Locating literary criticism.
- What is the difference?
- Literary themes or movements
- Identify appropriate search terms by browsing a variety of sources:
- Electronic books.
- Library reference databases.
- Library periodical databases.
- Effective search terms.
- Combine terms. Why combine terms?
- Combining terms is a step in Boolean algebra. See the Boolean Machine for visual examples of Boolean searches.
- Some databases supply the AND for you. Read search suggestions or HELP before searching a database.
- Or combine phrases,using the command AND, e.g., “robert frost” AND “criticism.”
- Combine terms to reduce the number of retrieved items.
- Combine terms to make the search more relevant.
- Keep track of which terms you have used and whether they were successful.
- Write the search terms down.
- Browse results of your search at each stage to determine if you have found relevant sources. Retrieved items do not have to be perfect! You can use relevant portions.
- Be sure to write down which documents you have used and where you found them, even if you have made a print out or obtained a copy.
- Printing out or saving a preliminary MLA citation is a good way to keep track.
- If necessary, modify your search term(s) and try again.
- Ask a librarian for help.