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WMST 200: Women and Society : Research Project

Research guide for WMST 200

Search Strategies

After you have narrowed your topic and have formulated a research question, you need to think about the concepts and then keywords to describe those concepts.

Always think about different ways to say the same thing.  Start with keywords to describe your topic, within results, read the abstract and look at the subject headings to identify additional keywords to use and revise the search (if needed).
Retrieve too many results? Limit to scholarly articles, limit words to subject

Search Strategies: 

Start with keywords (place phrases in quotes), use connectors (or / and) and look for the subject headings specific to each database.


place phrases in quotes
"feminist theory"
"gender role"
"gender wage gap"
"body image"
"gender identity"
"sex education"
"mass media"
"reproductive justice"
"pop culture"
"beauty pageant"
"equal pay"
"sex worker"


use * for truncation

role* = role or roles
feminis* = feminism or feminist
sex* = sex or sexes or sexual or sexism
ethnic* = ethnic or ethnicity
"sex worker*"
"beauty pageant*" = beauty pageant or beauty pageants


use - or - to connect synonyms

"gender role" or "gender identity"
lgbt or gay or homosexual* or lesbian*
"social media" or twitter or facebook
poverty or "low income"
"mass media" or tv or television or film or "motion pictures"
law* or legislation
women or female
"beauty pageant*" or "beauty contest*"
"maternity leave" or "parental leave"
"female genital mutilation" or "female genital circumcision" or fgm or fgc


use - and - to connect concepts

"beauty pageant*" and feminis*
"reproductive justice" and feminis*
STEM and women 


Put it all together:
STEM and (girl* or female*) and "high school"
"body image" and ("mass media" or tv or television) and "self esteem"
"sex worker*" and "health care" and treatment