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PAID 112 Section 07: Guerci (Spring 2024)

Historical Remembrance


In this guide, you'll find:

  • Resources and strategies for your section's research unit:
    • Recommended reference sources for background readings
    • Recommended databases for finding scholarly articles
    • Library catalog for finding books
    • Recommended collections of Primary Sources
  • Contact information for your librarian

The Perfect Source? Not Likely

Research isn't about finding that one perfect source that makes all the connections for you.

It's about pulling together information that helps you formulate your ideas and make the argument yourself. This video (2 minutes) explains why finding one perfect source isn't feasible, and describes some ways you can be strategic about your searching.

Video posted on YouTube by North Carolina State University Libraries under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license.

Creating Search Terms / Keywords


light bulb iconSearch terms, or keywords, are words or phrases we use to describe the topic we are researching. Using good search terms can make locating information easier. Some tips for brainstorming search terms include: 

  • The 4 W's: What is the who, what, when, and where of your topic? The answers to these can all be helpful search terms. Use reference resources to help you find the answers if you do not know.
  • Synonyms: List as many synonyms for your topic as you can. If you need help, use the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus.
  • Mind Maps: Write your main topic in a circle. Draw smaller circles connected to your main topic and write different related subtopics. Repeat that step with your subtopics, writing in even more focused subtopics. Here is one example from Credo Reference.
  • Draw a Time Line: Create a timeline of events related to your topic using reference resources. These events and dates can help you narrow your topic focus. 

Keep the list of terms you created while you worked on your project. As you continue your research, you may want to create new search terms and remove ones that are not helpful. This is okay and part of the research process. 

Content © Luther College Preus Library, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101 (563) 387-1166 Creative Commons License
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