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ART 286: Intro to African Art

Create a Research Diary

Keeping a research diary can help you organize your research time so that you don't duplicate searches, feel lost or overwhelmed, and can help you to be a more efficient and successful searcher. Track your process to help you write the reflection for your assignment.

What you searched

  • academic databases
  • library catalog
  • Google Scholar
  • Google or other search engines
  • etc.

How you searched

  • keywords or keyword phrases
  • limits you used
  • subject terms you found

Difficulties encountered

  • how did you resolve them?

Identify key ideas from your research question (think nouns)

  • Not complete sentences as used in normal conversation
  • Leave out minor words such as articles ("a," "an," or "the")
  • Leave out prepositions or verb phrases ("on," "in," or "going to")

Brainstorm and/or use a thesaurus to find synonyms

  • Example: Merriam-Webster Thesaurus: www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus

Talk to others to help work out your ideas

  • It can be very useful to bring another perspective to your work

Record useful terms you found doing research

  • Look back at class readings or class discussions—you might find that you've covered a topic or concept that will suggest useful keywords
  • Different subjects will often have their own specific terms to describe something
  • Collect keywords and subject headings from resources

Keep track of which keywords worked and didn't work, and the sources you find