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History: HIS4300 Microhistory

Search tips

Before starting your search, take a moment to write down your keywords. If my subject is the trial for the murder of Emmett Till, for example, I might choose:

  • Murder

  • Emmett Till

  • Civil Rights

But once I've decided on the keywords, what else does one have to do to start research in bibliographic tools like databases? Make sure you use common operators between the keywords so that search engines understand the relationships between terms.

Here is a list of the most common operators

Operator Usage Example
AND Ensures all search terms are included in results. "Emmett Till" AND murder AND "civil rights"
OR Retrieves related words Lynching OR murder
NOT Excludes the term after NOT "Emmett Till" AND murder NOT (poetry OR drama OR novels OR songs)
" " Searches all words within the quotation marks as a phras "American civil rights"
* Searches different endings of a root word murder*


Secondary Sources

Primary sources

Historical newspaper sources