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ENGLISH 434: Young Adult Literature: Books | Ebooks

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Search Examples


A significant word or concept. We often begin our searching using a keyword. Keyword search is the most flexible way to research a topic in databases. Below are some examples of keyword searches and keyword combinations--

Class and young adult literature 
Young adult literature 
Fantasy fiction

Young adult literature AND mental health
Fantasy fiction AND identity

(Young adult literature OR children's literature) 
(Novels OR Fiction)


Subject words are "controlled vocabulary" assigned by information organizers to include similar expressions under a "unified" subject word.
While researchers do not assign subject words, they can easily discover subject words in the description of a book or article (if subject words are provided by a database). Here are some examples of Subjects that you can discover in OneSearch--

Young adult literature
Young adult literature -- study and teaching
Young adult literature -- history and criticism
Youth -- books and reading

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Search Strategies

Be Elastic & Be Specific. 

Both are necessary. Research is a fluid, creative and elastic process. For example, you can narrow down your topic when it is too broad or when you find too much information. Using specific words can make your search results more precise. You can expand, refine, and revise your search words when you do not find enough information or the right information. Always, pay attention to new keywords and subject words that you will discover in the book or article citation/description. Add them to your notes. You may be surprised that your essay will miraculously grow from your words, thoughts, and notes over time.

The following techniques will help you create more effective search statements in computerized database searching.

  1. AND -- To narrow down/refine a topic by combining keywords

    Young adult fiction AND censorship
    Young adult fiction AND sexism 

  2. OR -- Nested search to include synonyms or related words

    (phobia OR fear)

    (xenophobia OR nationalism)

    (gothic OR horror)

  3. NOT--Use not to exclude a keyword

    Young adult literature NOT children's literature 
  4. "   " -- Use double quotes to search topic as a phrase

    "mental health"
    "queer theory"

  5.  -- Use the asterisk (also called wildcard) to truncate words so you can retrieve letters after the word stem

    multicultur* ->  multicultural, multiculturalism 
    sex* -> sexes, sexism, sexual, sexuality