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Race and Ethnicity Studies : Subject Guide: Searching

Frank Smith Library Center has many resources to those researching race and ethnic issues.

Research Process

When first learning about a topic you can start and move to any point in the research cycle depending on the type of information you need.


Identifying Concepts and Keywords

So, what makes a good topic?

  • It's something that interests you! You'll enjoy it and do a better job.
  • It meets the requirements of your assignment.
  • It’s broad enough to give you several search options.
  • It’s focused enough that you’re not overwhelmed with information.

Consult your professor or a librarian to help you narrow your ideas down to a manageable topic for your paper or project.


A keyword search scans all words in a record, including the title, abstract, and author.

Refer to your class notes and course materials to give you ideas for search terms. In databases such as Academic Search Complete, you can narrow your search through selecting keywords on Academic Search Complete or Worldcat@SU. 

  • race relations
  • indigenous peoples
  • immigrants
  • refugees
  • minorities
  • racial intergration
  • African Americans segregation
  • Click here for useful SEARCH TERMS.
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Boolean Operators

Boolean connectors are all about sets. It uses an algebraic concept, but don't let that scare you away. There are three little words that are used as Boolean connectors:


Think of each keyword as having a "set" of results that are connected with it. These sets can be combined to produce a different "set" of results. You can also exclude certain "sets" from your results by using a Boolean connector. See the other tabs in this box for further clarification on the way you can get different results using different Boolean connectors. 

*Boolean Operators need to be UPPERCASE when you type them into the search box.

Boolean Operator AND

Use AND to narrow your search. For example, using "behavior AND intelligence" will find articles with both terms, giving you more specific results.



Boolean Operator OR

Use OR to broaden your results. Using "behavior OR intelligence" will find articles with either term, giving you more results. You can use synonyms with OR to help find relevant information.



Boolean Operator NOT

Use NOT to filter out results with terms you don't need. For example "pets NOT cat" will filter out articles with the term "cat".



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