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NSP: Law & Ancient Order

Tips and hints for locating resources for your research assignment.

Torture and Capital Punishment Subject Headings

Questions to ask yourself as you begin formulating your search:

  • How does a culture define and implement capital punishment? Torture?
  • What does the topic of crime and punishment say about:
    • torture
    • prison
    • capital punishment
    • legal system

Using these questions, you can begin to brainstorm search terms. Identify the main subject heading that you want to investigate and then use keywords to clarify or refine your search results.

For instance: 

Subject heading Keywords

Torture

History of Torture

  • Torture
  • Flaying
  • Scalping
  • Garrote
  • Stoning

Capital punishment

Criminal law

  • Execution
  • Executioner
  • Beheading
  • Crucifixion
  • Public executions
  • Firing squads
Places
  • Execution sites
  • Examples
    • Rome AND History
    • Europe AND Seventh century

Try words in a variety of combinations; don't be afraid to experiment.  Some searches will turn up entirely new results or you might repeatedly get the same results!

What is a search strategy?

Developing a strong search strategy can save you time when it is time to search for resources.  Rather than doing general searching using Google, we recommend that you search using the library databases.  Searching Google is much different than searching library databases.

One facet of database searching that can be difficult to get used to is subject heading or keyword searches.  Rather than typing a question in and expecting instant results, users need to focus on identifying and using controlled language searches.

Identifying controlled language for subject headings and keywords is beneficial for the savvy researcher.  Controlled language is typically assigned by the Library of Congress and is then used universally (or at least in English) by vendors and publishers when identifying main points and ideas for their books, journals and other publications.

Once the controlled language for your topic is identified, database searching is usually much easier. 

Language used on websites by various entities can often be arbitrary and inconsistent.

Divorce and Ancient Law Subject Headings

Questions to ask yourself as you begin formulating your search:

  • How does each culture define and legislate divorce?
  • What does the topic of divorce say about:
    • family
    • gender issues
    • religious concerns
    • economic realities
    • social expectations
  • What were the grounds for divorce?

Using these questions, you can begin to brainstorm search terms. Identify the main subject heading that you want to investigate and then use keywords to clarify or refine your search results.

For instance: 

Subject heading Keywords
Law, Ancient OR Ancient Law
  • Divorce
  • Marriage
  • Israel or Rome or Greece, etc.
Divorce
  • Qur'an
  • Code Hammurabi
Islamic Law
  • Divorce
  • Marriage

Try words in a variety of combinations; don't be afraid to experiment.  Some searches will turn up entirely new results or you might repeatedly get the same results!