If you search a catalog or database and receive a large number of results, add a limit or additional keyword in order to retrieve a manageable and relevant number of results to review. At the same time 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 you to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.
For example, a search for queer AND postcolonial will return items that contain both "queer" and "postcolonial":
indigenous OR aboriginal returns items that contain either one of the terms or both:
globalization NOT tourism returns items that talk about migration and mass media but not pleasure travel:
An important strategy to use when searching for phrases ("forced sterilization") or titles:
For example, "policing sexuality"
will search for those words in that order, finding the 2011 text by Julian CH Lee.
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 politic, 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.
When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is important to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.
For example, (coloni* OR imperial*) AND (sex* OR gender) will return results for the union of the two subject areas.
In the Anthropology Plus database this search returns results including: Under Imperial Eyes, Black Bodies, Buttocks, and Breasts: British Colonial Photography and Asante "Fetish Girls." Engmann, Rachel Ama Asaa. African Arts v. 45, no. 2 (2012), p. 46-57.