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American History 2

Strategies & tips for locating resources for your research projects

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.

Suggestions to Start With

Below is a partial list of the topics provided by Professor Weber along with the official subject heading that goes along with it, as well as other suggestions that might be helpful to get started with your searching.

Topic List Subject Heading
Malcolm X

X, Malcolm, 1925-1965

Black Muslims

Civil Rights

Internment Camps

Concentration Camps

Japanese Americans

Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945

Assassination of James Garfield

Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881

Search with AND Assassination

Presidents, Assassination, United States

Dust Bowl

Dust Bowl Era, 1931-1939

Droughts, Great Plains

Droughts, Great Plains, History, 20th Century

Depressions, 1929, United States

Bonnie & Clyde

Parker, Bonnie, 1910-1934

Barrow, Clyde, 1909-1934

Criminals

Brigands and robbers

Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

AND Causes

Cuba, Foreign relations, United States

Castro, Fidel, 1926-2016

Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963

The Rise of Fast Food

Fast food restaurants AND history

Fast food AND Social aspects

Convenience foods

You can also limit your search results to the oldest dates for articles to get a more historical perspective--articles and news from that time period!

Nye Report

Nye, Gerald P. (Gerald Prentice), 1892-1971

Military weapons, History, 20th century

United States. Congress. Senate. Special Committee to Investigate the Munitions Industry

Windtalkers

Indian code talkers OR Native American code talkers

United States History World War 1939-1944 Cryptography

United States Armed Forces Indians OR United States Armed Forces Native American

Yellow Journalism

Journalism, Objectivity

Sensationalism in journalism, United States, History, 19th century

Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951

Pulitzer, Joseph, 1847-1911

Tet Offensive

Tet Offensive, 1968

Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Hồ, Chí Minh, 1890-1969

Võ, Nguyên Giáp, 1911-2013

Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973

History of the Olympics

Olympics

Olympics, History

Olympic Sports

Winter Olympics

Summer Olympics

Specific games: Olympic Games (11th : 1936 : Berlin, Germany)

If you need assistance understanding or locating subject headings for the topic you've selected, please stop in Dugan Library and ask one of our librarians!  We would love to help you get started!