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ENG-228 (Peters_Spring 2020)

Black American Literature

What is your topic?

Objective for Research Instruction:

Finding films showing African American life, culture and literature in Moore Library's collection.

As you identify relevant keywords related to your topic, it may be helpful to find some background information to gain a good overview and better understanding of the context of your topic.

Conducting some brief background research can help you in finding additional terminology related to your topic, as well as specific events, dates, and names related to your topic.

Some online reference resources to try:

Credo Reference

"...access to 600+ encyclopedias, handbooks, guides and dictionaries.  These reference works cover a wide swath of topics including, science and medicine, etc.

Gale Virtual Reference Library

"A collection of encyclopedias and other reference sources which covers a variety of topics..."


If you are not finding enough information, your topic may be too narrow.


Consider broadening it by exploring related issues, adding another element to the topic, or expanding the area covered. Use truncation and the boolean connector, OR, to expand your topic.

If you are finding too much information, your topic may be too broad.

Consider narrowing it by time period, geographic location, or population.

The videos and information below will help you expand or narrow your searches.

A. Truncation (shorten a word and use of a symbol such as an asterisk (*) or question mark (?)) to search for multiple endings of root words.

Example: critic* would search for critic, critics, criticism, criticisms


B. BOOLEAN Connectors: AND, OR, NOT are connecting operators that tells the computer to expand (OR), limit (AND), eliminate (NOT) concepts when searching.

Capitalize your connectors AND/OR

Example: African-American AND culture [both terms need to be in results; narrows topic]

Example: culture OR society OR customs OR traditions  [either term or both terms can be in results; broadens topic]


C. Phrase search involves a concept that has more than one word and quotation marks around the terms defines the term.

Example: "African American"