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Gingrich Library: Your Success Is Why We're Here!

FYS 100 -- Japanese Culture -- Fall 2017: Class Activity: Brainstorming

Searching library databases is NOT the same as Google

Ponyo, Hayao Miyazaki
When you do a Google search, you can type in almost anything and something will come back.

When you do the same search in a library article database, you will most likely get nothing.

Library databases require that you search by concept or keyword and connect these using AND and OR.

Before you start your research, you should spend at least a few minutes brainstorming keywords that you can use in a database.

That way, if your first search doesn't get you what you need, you have other keywords on hand to use immediately.

Brainstorming Race

Consider the research question:

Is anime a worthwhile tool for learning and teaching people about Japanese culture?


  1. A timed race is used to get students thinking about alternative keywords for their topics.

  2. In groups, students are given a keyword that relates to the example topic being discussed.

  3. Groups then have FIVE MINUTES to brainstorm synonyms, narrower terms, broader terms, and related terms.

  4. Students may use online tools to create the longest list of other appropriate search terms.

  5. Terms are then shared with the class and a winner is declared.

Worksheet: Brainstorming Your Search Terms