Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ANTH 210 Indians of North America: Search Strategies

Why Try Different Search Strategies?

Why Try Different
Search Strategies?       

To be an efficient and effective researcher, be...

  • FLEXIBLE: try broad searches first, then narrow searches because search tools require different strategies
  • CREATIVE: try different search words, such as synonyms or related words
  • willing to LEARN AS YOU GO: keep your eyes open for new words or vocabulary that you find in your sources (book, article or website results).  Use this new search vocabulary for your next search
  • PERSISTENT: look in more than one place - use all the search tools available to you, such as the library catalog, library databases, the internet, and much more
  • willing to ASK FOR HELP: ask a librarian!


Search Words

Use different search tools to find information:
Background Info in Reference Books,    Books,    Articles,    Videos,    Websites

1. FIRST: Try broad search words relating to your topic, such as:

  • Apache
  • Inuit
  • Indians of North America
  • American Indians
  • Native Americans

2.  NEXT: Try a new search.  Add words to narrow your search, such as:

history religion social life
marriage kinship social conditions
politics government legal
legnends ceremonies art
languages clothing food
health hunting first contact


  • Example searches:
    Apache religion
    Apache languages
    Indians of North America religion
    Indians of North America languages
    Native American first contact

3.  FINALLY: Brainstorm synonyms or related terms for search words

  • Example: religion - spirituality, spirit, worship, beliefs, sacred, holy, god, deity, heaven, afterlife, ritual, ceremony
  • Example searches:
    • Apache spirituality
    • Apache beliefs
    • Indians of North America worship


Helpful Search Strategies

1. When searching the library catalog, databases, or the internet, AND / OR / NOT help you broaden or narrow your search results:

What Does It Do?
Search Examples

narrows your search,
gets you fewer results

drug abuse AND sports
finds information on drug abuse that specifically pertains to sports

broadens your search,
gets you more results

steroids OR anabolic
finds information with the word steroids or information with the word anabolic

excludes certain terms,
gets you fewer results                              

steroid use NOT wrestling
finds information on steroid use, but excludes information about wrestling


2. Use truncation symbols (usually ? or *) in library catalogs and databases to capture all forms of words (forest* will retrieve forest, forests, forester, forested, foresting).

3. Keep searches simple using basic search words. Search on body image women rather than how does body image affect women in the United States?

4. Use a variety of search words.  For example, try different searches to find different results:
          body image women
          self image women
          personal appearance women
          anorexia women
          body image teenagers

5. Become a power internet searcher!  Use advanced search techniques in Google to get better results from your internet searches