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GPP 115: Global Poverty - Challenges and Hopes in the New Millennium: Search Tips

The Research Approach

Unless you are very familiar with your country or  region it is a good idea to get background information first.  Books often provide this so a search in Oskicat for general works is usually worth it.  You can then proceed to find more detailed information in journal articles.   Rather than looking on the web for a project, see if you can find a related article first.  Then if you wish you can search for primary sources for descriptions and outcomes of the project.

Search Tips

When searching a database or Oskicat you will need to unlearn some Google habits. When searching Oskicat less is more.  Start with simple searches (two to three key concepts). If you get too many results, add more terms and/or apply limits, e.g. by language or material type.  If you get nothing or not enough, try different terms and use synonyms, e.g. "microcredit" for "microfinance."  As an example, the search below is a simple "keyword" search for Bangladesh and Microfinance.  It retrieves 81 results which is easily manageable. You can also click the Google Book link on the right to search through sections of the text and see related items.


Useful "limits" and "sorts" in the catalog include a language limit (over 50% of the items in the UC Berkeley libraries are not in English) and sorting by date or relevance. 
One useful Oskicat feature is the subject heading. The advantage of this is if you identify the library subject heading for your topic you can see "related headings" (see below for related headings for microfinance) like a taxonomy.  One good way to do this is do a keyword search, find a record for a book you like, and click the subject heading. 


Subject Headings

When searching a database such as Proquest, go to the advanced search and stack the terms in the boxes. Do not string terms together on one line - the database may interpret this as a "string" and search in that exact order. When in doubt add an "and" between terms.


Search Strategy

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