Strategy: using databases to suggest search terms
This strategy can work particularly well in databases that have subject indexing, such as the Digital National Security Archive, as well as the Tripod library catalog (which also has subject indexing).
1. Start by searching for a keyword that seems relevant to your topic.
- For example, if you were interested in governmental attempts to destroy crops related to the drug trade, you might start by searching spray.
2. See how many results you get. Can you expand this search term to include variations?
- For example, change your term from spray to spray* - this includes spraying and sprayed.
3. Skim through your results and look for other related words that might be useful as search terms.
- Look on the main search results page, and also on the individual description pages for articles that seem particularly relevant. - Create a list of these terms.
- For example, search results for spray* pointed me to other search terms including aerial spraying, crop eradication, and opium poppy.
4. Run a search that lets you find articles (etc.) matching any of these terms.
- For example: "Aerial spraying" OR "Crop eradication" OR "opium poppy" OR spray*
Example of this search strategy being used:
(searching the Digital National Security Archive)