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Africana Studies (African American and African Studies): Article Databases

A guide to library research techniques and information resources in Africana Studies.


Finding RELEVANT Articles

First, organize your research topic into concepts. Concepts are typically nouns or noun phrases.

  • For example, if you are researching Apartheid legislation in South Africa, your concepts would be
    • South Africa
    • Apartheid
    • legislation

Using a databases's Advanced Search, enter each concept and its synonyms into a separate search line.

  • "South Africa"
  • apartheid OR segregation
  • Legislat*

Use quotation marks around phrases, these are typically noun phrases that you would find a definition of in a dictionary.

  • "petty apartheid"
  • "racial segregation"

Use * for truncation.

  • legislat* will find legislation, legislative, legislature, etc.

Limit to peer-reviewed articles if necessary.

Limit by date if necessary.

Too many or too few results?

  • Use the thesaurus or Subject Index to find related, broader, narrower, and similar terms OR specific terms that the databases uses to describe a topic.
    • Too many results? Use a narrower term.
    • Too few results? Use a broader term.

Find an article that looks interesting?

  • Click on the article's title.
  • Look at the subjects given to an article to find related terms and run additional searches using these terms.
  • Click on the references, cited by, or see similar documents links to find related articles.