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HUMA 1650: Networked Imagination  

Last Updated: May 27, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Background Information


  • A Companion to aesthetics Call Number: BH 56 C65 1995 Scott


Keyword Searching

Keyword searching is the most common and effective method for finding information in any computerized database, whether it's the library catalogue, an online index or even an Internet search engine, like Google. Once you know the basics, you are capable of searching anywhere.

1. Write down your research topic as clearly as possible and

  • What is the cultural significance of social networking websites

2. Identify the major concepts or ideas

  • The key concepts are: cultural and social networking and web sites

3. Combine your search terms using AND to link the concepts

  • cultural AND social networking AND web sites

4. For each concept, think of synonyms or related words.

  • cultural/culture/aesthetics
  • social networking/social networking/facebook
  • web sites/online/Internet

5. Combine synonyms with OR. Be sure to use round parentheses around all terms connected with OR.

    • (cultural OR culture)
    • (social networking OR social networks OR facebook)


The search will find...

cultural AND social networking AND web sites

Items containing "cultural" and "social networking" and "web sites"

AND narrows a search, resulting in fewer hits.

social networking OR facebook

Items containing either "social networking" or "facebook" or both.

OR broadens a search, resulting in more hits.

6. Combine your search terms using ANDs, ORs and parentheses.

  • (culture or cultural) and (social networking or social networks or facebook) and (web sites or online or internet)

Note: Your research question might be complex if you are looking at various viewpoints (technological, economic, aesthetic, social and psychological). In this case you will need to conduct more than one search for each viewpoint such as:

  • (economic or economics) and (social networking or social networks or facebook) and (web sites or online or internet)
  • (psychological or isolation) and (social networking or social networks or facebook) and (web sites or online or internet)

Searching for Articles

To search for articles on your topic you will need to search an articles database (also known as a periodical index). Use the steps outlined in Keyword Searching to build an effective keyword search.

Scholarly journal articles are articles that are written by researchers or scholars who are experts in a particular field or discipline. Some scholarly journals are peer-reviewed or refereed, meaning that articles submitted for publication must be approved by a panel of readers who are considered experts in their fields. Because they are highly selective, peer-reviewed journals are often regarded as the best in their field.

To access periodical indexes/databases, go to Find Articles by Subject from the libraries' homepage. Depending on your topic some useful indexes might be found in the Humanities, Communications and Culture research guides.

The following indexes and databases are good resources to start searching for article:

Humanities Index
Philosophers Index
Research Library
Communication and Mass Media Complete (Via Ebsco)

Locating Articles on Your Topic

Most periodical indexes/databases do not provide the full-text of the article from the database. Instead the periodical index/database provides only information (e.g. title, author, abstract) about articles written on a particular topic. There are several scenarios for getting to the full-text of an article.

Scenario 1: Article is available full-text from the database ... no further action required!

Scenario 2: Article is not available full-text from the database.

Make note of the citation: author, article title, journal name, volume number, issue number, year and pages

Click on the Find it @ York  button to determine if the libraries have an electronic or paper copy of the journal.

For a journal only available in paper, you will need to write down the journal's call number.

 Remember, only journals are listed in the library catalogue, not individual articles.


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