Skip to main content

Social Reproduction or Mobility (HC) 2017

Social Reproduction or Mobility: Class, Race, and Ethnography in Schools (Curl) Summer 2017

Your Research Process

Your Research Process

Here are some steps and questions that might be useful for getting started and refining your research topic.

1) Write a few sentences describing your topic.

2) Based on what you have written, what are some key words that relate to your topic?

3) What are the broad subject areas or disciplines that relate to your topic—education, anthropology, sociology, law, etc? Consider the different areas of expertise that engage with your topic..

4) Given the range of fields in which your topic is studied, what are some sources or types of information you might want to seek out?  (ex: policy, case studies, statistics, opinion pieces, new articles, ethnographies, etc)

5) Conduct a search, either via Google or via one of the databases offered via Tripod, such as JSTOR. What strategies/ resources yield the most results?

6) What new questions or ideas about your topic might you have, now that you see the kinds of research that has been done? 

Tips for Searching

The large number of citations in many catalogs and databases requires one to limit otherwise broad or general searches in order to retrieve a manageable and pertinent number of results.  Conversely, overly narrow search terms can return too few results.  One way of solving both problems is to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), which allow one to limit or expand searches depending on his or her needs.

For example, a search for Resnais AND Holocaust will return items that contain both "Resnais" and "Holocaust":


Resnais OR Holocaust returns items that contain either "Resnais" or "Holocaust" or both:

Resnais NOT Holocaust returns items that contain "Resnais" but not "Holocaust":

Phrase searching:

An important strategy for one to employ when researching phrasal concepts (e.g., "European Union") or conducting known-item searches for titles:

For example, Hiroshima Mon Amour will search for Hiroshima AND Mon AND Amour.

However, "Hiroshima Mon Amour" in quotation marks will search for Resnais' film of the same name.


Nested Searching:

When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is helpful to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.

For example, (memory OR nostalgia) AND Resnais will return results for Resnais and any one (or both) of the parenthetical terms. 

(Many catalogs or databases will have an "advanced search" option, which provides multiple search bars to facilitate nested searching.)


Truncation and Wildcards:

Most catalogs and databases enable users to search variations of keywords by using truncation (*) or wildcard (e.g., ?, $, !) symbols.

For example, one could search for politic* to find poltic, politics, political, politicking, and so on.

Wildcard searching works similarly: a search for t??th will return results for teeth, tooth, tenth, and so on.

Searching Tripod for Articles

N.B.: Tripod Articles is quite extensive, but not comprehensive.  Searching in smaller and subject-specific databases can often yield a more manageable and pertinent set of results

Use the dropdown menu to search by keyword, subject, author, title, or ISSN number:

Use the filters on the right-hand side of the results page to refine your results by:

  • Full-text or peer-reviewed articles
  • Resource type
  • Specific authors/creators
  • Specific topics (subject headings)
  • Journal titles
  • Date Range
  • Other delimiters


Filters can be removed by clicking on the gold box under "Remove Filters" at the top of the column.