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A Guide To...Africana Studies

This guide is a starting point for research in Africana Studies. The guide includes recommended resources and tips for effective research.

Recommended Databases for Africana Studies

For a complete list of databases useful for Africana Studies research, click here.

Searching on Research Databases

Keyword Searching

It is important to use the right words in your searches to make sure you're searching effectively.

  • Try searching! See what terms work and what terms don't work. Always remember to use synonyms when searching to make sure you get the most results! For example, if you are researching a topic like American music, you might want to search for not only "jazz," but also related genres like "ragtime" and "blues."
  • Once you have perfected your key words, make sure to use Boolean operators for the best searches!

Using Boolean Operators

Boolean operators (ANDOR, & NOT) are a powerful search tool to manipulate searches to be as broad or as narrow as you would like.
  • AND combines terms so that your search contains both search terms. For example, the search blues AND ragtime will include results with both blues and ragtime.
  • OR broadens your search to include either of your search terms. For example, the search blues OR ragtime will include results with either blues or ragtime.
  • NOT excludes terms from your search. For example, the search blues NOT ragtime will include results with the term blues and exclude the term ragtime.

Boolean Operator Hints

In addition to the Boolean operators ANDOR, & NOT, there are several other tricks you can use to further improve the quality of your searches on EconLit.

  • Nesting through the use of parentheses allows you to use multiple operators and key words. For example, the search (race OR ethnicity) AND discrimination will return results that include both race and discrimination AND ethnicity and discrimination.
  • The wild card (*) allows you to search for multiple versions of the same word. For example, the search wom*n will return results including either woman or women, and the search child* will return results including child, children, childhood, childish, etc.
  • Quotation marks allow you to search for search phrases that are more than one word. For example, the search symphonic jazz will return results including either symphonic or jazz, but the search "symphonic jazz" will only include results that have "symphonic jazz." (In other words, the use of quotation marks preserve the multi-word phrase in its intended order, but make sure not to use it for entire sentences!).