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COMP General Research

Developing your Topic IS Research

Video created by NC State University Libraries

Mardigian Search

Advanced Search

How to Start Your Search

Mardigian Search is a tool used to search through a variety of our library material: books, journal articles, ebooks, etc. It will search the library catalog, plus most of the library's databases and online resources in a single search.

Because Mardigian Search can search through so much though, it can give you millions of results with a single search--this can make it hard to narrow down and refine your search. It's a good place to start if you are doing a preliminary search to get a general idea of what is available on a topic. Use keywords (important themes and words you're interested in researching) to get you started.

These tips are specific for our general Mardigian Search, however, you can apply these same keyword search strategies to anywhere you do research. In the Mardigian search box above, type in keywords to get you started.

Keyword Searches

  • Keywords are the important themes and words you're interested in researching
  • Try getting inspiration from tags on your initial search results. These are words or phrases that the author/publisher/editor have determined to be major themes or concepts in the piece. Search algorithms match your initial keyword searches with these tags.
  • Don't use filler words like effect, impact, role, or connection as these will muck up the search.
  • You may have to look for synonyms or variations to your original keyword search.
  • For example, if you're doing research question is "How does mass media affect body image?", your keywords to start with are Body Image and Mass Media rather than typing in your whole research question.

More Specific Search and ​Boolean Operators

  • In order to have Body Image appear as one phrase you will need to add quotations around it (the same for mass media. So your search will be ["Body Image" "Mass Media"]
  • While this will give me results for those specific phrases, it won't give me them for both of them together. In order to have both phrases appear together I need to use the Boolean operator AND.
  • Add some other important keywords and connect them with the Boolean Operators AND, OR, NOT to clarify what you want included in your search results

  • My new search would be ["Body Image" AND "Mass Media"]. Now I will have results for both Body Image and Mass Media.
  • If I wanted just Body Image to appear in my search and not Mass Media I would search for ["Body Image" NOT "Mass Media"]. The not indicates that I do not want the following phrase of Mass Media.
  • If I wanted either results for "Body Image" or "Mass Media" I would use the following search ["Body Image" OR "Mass Media"]

Select Content Type

  • Choose what format you'd prefer
    • Examples: Book/eBook, Journal Article, Magazine Article, Streaming Video, Web Resources, ...
  • If you don't have a preference you can always leave all of the results in and continue to narrow down by the suggestions below

​​Filter Your Search Results

  • In Mardigian Search, use Refine Your Search on the left hand side
  • Select Disciplines and Subjects that interest you
    • Example of Disciplines: anatomy & physiology, anthropology, biology, education, medicine, psychology, public health, social sciences, ...
    • Example of Subjects: adolescent, adult, advertising, attitudes, behavior, body dissatisfaction, body image, body image - psychology, body-image, clinical psychology, communication, culture, developmental psychology, dissatisfaction, education, gender, health, human body, mass communication, mass media effects, media, personal appearance, television, ...
  • ​Select the publication date you find most useful by moving the yellow slide scale

Refine Your Search

  • Continue to narrow down your results by changing the Discipline and Subjects selected.
  • Change your keyword search as you go. You will find as you do your research that your initial research question may change and become more specific to narrow down your focus. For the example above, "How does mass media affect body image?", you may change this to "How does the mass media in America affect male views on body image?" You may then change your keyword search to ["Body Image" AND "Mass Media" AND America AND Male].
  • Play around with it as you go and contact your professor or the library at

Scholarly/Peer Reviewed

Your professors may ask you to find scholarly, academic, or peer-reviewed articles. These are articles that have gone through a rigorous review process by the journal they are eventually published in and peers in their field.

Video created by NC State University Libraries

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