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WGST/HPS 336: Perspectives in Women's Health

Research Guide for WGST/HPS 336

Access Library Resources Online

Trying to access library resources online? Follow the instructions on the Online Access to Library Resources page to access library databases, articles, and ebooks, both on-campus and off-campus.

Mardigian Search (searches all the library's databases at once)

Advanced Search

Search FAQs

1. How do I search for my topic?

  • Identify the main ideas of your topic and use those as your search words
  • Each article has tags assigned to it, words or shorts phrases that make them searchable - you want your search words to match those tags
  • Words like factors, effects, issues, relationships are usually not used as tags - don't include them as search words

Example: The topic for your research project is: The medicalization of female genital cutting

  • A search about this topic could be: medicaliz* female "genital cutting"
  • Add an * to the end of a word stem to search for all words that begin with that word stem
    • medical* will search for medicalize, medicalizing, and medicalization
  • Put a phrase in quotation marks to search for its words as a phrase, not separate words
    • "genital cutting" searches for genital cutting as a phrase, not separate words

2. How do I focus the search hits to just recent, academic journal articles?

  •  Use Refine Your Search options to focus your search results to just peer-reviewed articles
  • Peer-reviewed articles:
    • Check the box beside Limit to articles from peer-reviewed publications
    • Check the box beside Journal article under Content Type
  • Current/Recent articles:
    • Under Publication Date, move the scroll bar over to 2000 to present

3. How do I know my search words match the tags assigned to articles about my research question?

  • Look through the Subject Terms (tags) under Refine Your Search, and see if they match your search words 
  • Example: gential mutilation and female circumcision are also used as tags for articles about this topic
  • New Search: medicaliz* AND female AND ("genital cutting" OR "genital mutilation" OR circumcision)
    • AND combines your search words to find only items tagged with all the search words
    • OR combines your search words to find items tagged with any of the search words
  • If you only have one search box, combine your main ideas using AND then combine each main idea with its synonyms in parentheses ( ) using OR 
  • Subjects Terms (tags) also help you identify the specific issues and approaches for your topic

4. I can't find anything on my research topic. What do I do?

  • The search words you're using to describe your topic may not match the tags assigned to articles on your research question
    • Try different search words that mean the same thing
  • There may not be research tying your main ideas together yet.
    • Try searching for your main ideas separately and linking their findings together
  • If you've found one article that's relevant for your topic, look through the sources in its References list to see if any of them are also relevant to your research
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