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POLI 40: Politics of U.S. Economic Policies (Faulve-Montojo): Search Strategies

Search Strategies

Searching databases for journal articles is a bit more challenging than using tools such as Google. The good news is that you have a lot more control over how you design the search. This also means you should get better, more targeted results.

  • Before you start searching, try focusing your topic by writing a one sentence research question.
    For example: How do government policies address issues of food security in the United States?
  • Identify the main ideas in your research question.
    • government policies
    • food security
    • united states
  • Boil the statement down to keywords, or the most important elements of your issue.
    • government policies, economic policies
    • food security, food scarcity
    • united states
  • Use an asterisk to find variations of a word.
    EX: polic* will find policy and policies, but also police
  • Then, separate the keywords with the "and" and "or" connectors
    • "government polic*" or "economic polic*" 
    • "food secur*" or "food scarcity"
    • united states 

The above search strategy in the Political Science Complete, Business Source Complete, and EconLit databases (you can search these databases simultaneously) will look like this. Note that I changed "Select a Field" to "SU Subjects" for the first two lines so the databases will only look for terms in the subject terms (index) or keywords sections of the citation. This helps to retrieve articles that are more on-target. 

You can also limit your search to "peer reviewed" publications so you search only the academic literature.

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This search retrieved 91 peer-reviewed citations. 

Last Revised on July 15, 2020 (Happy Tax Day!)

Social Sciences and Government Information Librarian