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Research & Writing

Guide to research Research & Writing for students for Professor Heck

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.

Criminal Justice Subject Headings

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • aggression (psychology)
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • delinquent behavior
  • gangs
  • prisoners
  • prison violence
  • violence AND socioeconomics
  • ex-convicts AND services for
  • parolees
  • recidivism
  • criminals AND rehabilitation

Sociology Subject Headings

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • social problems
  • public welfare
  • feminism
  • culture
  • individualism
  • civil rights
  • poverty
  • social movements
  • child welfare AND social policy
  • human rights
  • social action
  • sociological research