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FNDS 3303: Vive la Différence

Using Mardigian 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.
  • You can come up with these key words by making a search web with your research question, or in this case, myth you'd like to bust in the middle. Then start attaching connected keywords and thoughts you think would be relevant to your search.
  • 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.
  • Think of Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How when picking your keywords
  • You may have to look for synonyms or variations to your original keyword search.

More Specific Search and ​Boolean Operators

  • Here is an example topic and how to think of keywords from your research assignment: "How does bilingualism shape identity for individuals in francophone countries"
  • Good search terms for this could be: bilingualism, mutilingualism, identify, francophone, french language, Haiti, etc.
  • A good starting search could be [bilingualism Haiti identity] but you'd probably want to try additional combinations of keywords. Do multiple searches.
  • As you're going through this initial search process you'll likely change your search terms many times using synonyms to find similar results and also refining your keywords as you learn more about the myth you'd like to bust and the sub-myths that pertain to it.

Select Content Type

  • Choose what format you'd prefer on the left hand side under Content Type
    • 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: anthropology, literature, education, history & archaeology, political science, economics, psychology, etc.
    • Example of Subjects: bilingualism, sociolinguistics, linguistics, creoles, cultural identity, immigrants, Carribean studies, slavery, ethnicity, cultural policy....
  • Select peer-review to only view peer-reviewed results.
  • Select the publication date you find most useful by selecting items from the last year, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 year, or by selecting a specific date range.

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. 
  • Play around with it as you go and contact your professor or the library ( or email your librarian for this course, Annie Dempsey ( if you get stuck or confused.
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