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Women's Studies

Preparing for Library Research ...

Before you start:

  • Explore your topic/subject area by checking the online sources listed in the boxes below or consult your course readings, textbooks etc
  • Understand the key terms for your topic;
  • Think about ways to narrow the focus of your topic, consider all possible variables. Ask yourself further questions about your topic: 
    • What aspects or viewpoints of your topic interest you? For example are you interested in the social, legal, medical, ethical, psychological, economic, political, philosophical, biological viewpoint? These allow you to focus on a single aspect of your topic.
    • What time period do you want to cover?
    • What place or geographic region do you want to cover? National? International? Local? Economic System or Political system? Language?
    • What population do you want to examine? Gender? Age? Occupation? Ethnicity? Nationality? Species etc
    • What is the history of your topic? How has it changed?
  • Pose your topic as a question
  • List  the main concepts for your question, then based on your readings;
  • Find as many synonyms as you can for each main concept.
  • Use these synonyms (Keywords) to search the databases listed on the "Find Journal Articles" tab of this guide

When you are looking for more information on a specific topic or you don't know much about a topic, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are a great place to start because they contain relatively short—and accessible—articles. These articles often lay out the main issues of a subject and can assist you in trying to narrow your topic.

Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings with core articles which allow you to explore your topic further.

WS1100 2019 Librarian Presentation

Online Dictionaries & Encylopedias

Print Dictionaries & Encyclopedias