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POLS 161: The Politics of Globalization (HC)

Political Science 161: The Politics of Globalization (Donahue) Spring 2017

Tips for Searching Part 1

Keywords allow you to construct a search that reflects multiple issues in your research question. Building sets of related concepts and looking for their overlaps gives you more relevant and precise results.  This approach is called Boolean searching using the operators AND, OR, NOT.


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


labor OR workers returns items that contain either "labor" or "workers" or both:

trade NOT union returns items that contain "trade" but not the word "union":

Phrase searching:

An important strategy to use when searching for phrases ("commodity chain") or for titles in the Tripod Catalog:

For example, "global shift" will search for global AND shift in that order, finding the book by Peter Dicken


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 searches are for differences within words: a search for wom?n will return results for woman, women, and womyn.


Nested Searching:

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

For example,  (labor OR work*) AND indonesia*  will return results for Indonesia and any one (or both) of the parenthetical terms.  

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


Tips for Searching Part 2

Subject Headings allow you to find relevant material grouped together including titles that do not use the keywords you may have been searching.


Finding subject headings

       Look at a book record in Tripod, check the subjects assigned to it, and choose whatever ones are relevant for your research.

Example:  Threads of Labour: Garment Industry Supply Chains from the Workers' Perspective

Edited by Angela Hale and Jane Wills.  Blackwell, 2005,


                         women clothing workers   economic conditions

                         clothing trade   subcontracting

                         clothing workers  labor unions

                         employee rights


            Subject search   clothing workers  labor unions  =  38 results


Refining subject searches

                        You can combine different concepts into a single subject search for precision.  The results are more focused than a keyword search.

                         But all the words have to be terminology used in library subject cataloging.

                         To ensure this, use subject headings you have already found.  Another option is to browse in the subject headings for more choices.                   

                          Combination subject search:

                 Subject: ("offshore assembly industry" OR global*)  (computer* OR technology OR electronic*) =  160 results   (2010-2017 publications)