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University of Portland Clark Library

SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology: Increase Your Search Success

Creating an Effective Search Strategy

1. Start with an issue of concern, e.g., Gentrification.

2. Search within a database and look for alternative terms to use. Your search might now be Gentrification OR Urban Renewal.

3. After further examining your search results, your search might look like

Gentrification OR Urban Renewal


Racism OR Race OR Discrimination


Hispanic OR Mexican OR Latino (OR...)

4. Use an asterisk (*, Shift + 8) to find different endings, e.g., Discriminat* will find Discriminate, Discriminatory, etc. as well as Discrimination.

Refine Your Search

Improve your search by using the options on the sidebar to the left of your search results

Text of the above slide for accessibility purposes:

Improve your search by using the options on the sidebar to the left of your search results.

Narrow your search:

  • Choose Peer Reviewed
  • Do not check Full Text (you will miss articles that are available online with just one or two mouse clicks)
  • Date Range (limit your search to current articles)

Select Show More>> to see other limit options (Language, Age Group, etc.)

Choose Subject: Thesaurus Term to see the terms most associated with your topic; you can select terms to focus your search, or try a new search using the suggested terms. 

Database List of Subject Terms

Also called a Thesaurus.

In SocINDEX with Full Text the thesaurus is labeled "Subject Terms." | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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