- Clarify you topic by restating it as a question
- What sources fit your timeline? Primary? Secondary? Tertiary? Primary sources are unfiltered sources created at the time of the event. Secondary sources are works that interpret the primary data. Examples would include a book examining women's role as healers in Europe,or a journal article about the role of the church in state trials. Tertiary sources, on the other hand, are even farther removed from the primary source. They are works that use secondary sources. Encyclopedias are examples of tertiary sources. You may want to consult these sources for background or overview information.
- Try your topic in a database, encyclopedia to see how the topic is covered. Then decide whether you need to modify or refine.
- As you search and learn about your topic, create a list of synonyms, keywords and subject headings.Generally, when you do a keyword search in a library catalog or article database, the title, subject and abstract fields are searched. These fields are called the Basic Index
- Recognize how language changes. If you search 16th century sources, you will need to be aware of the language of the times.
- Keep track of what you are reading.
- Build your search strategy in library databases and search engines
Term 1 and term 2 ( and ) Retrieves only records with both terms
women and magic
Term 1 or term 2 ( or ) Maximizes results by retrieving either term
witchcraze or witch hunt
Truncation: * (asterick) Femin* (feminine or feminist or feminism) Wildcards ? Replaces letters in the middle of the word wom?n
Phrase Searching use quotes"witch trials"