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Educating The Prince (Fall 2016): Class Activity : Search Strategies

Medieval Universities

Medieval Education

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

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.

Creating Search Strategies

Research Question:

What was education like in Europe during the Middle Ages?


Group work: Students will form groups of 2-3

Use JSTOR to find articles on your topic :

  • Which words of our search would we leave out if we want to find articles in the database?
  • Each group comes up with at least 2 synonyms for keywords (may use a thesaurus such as The Bloomsbury Thesaurus).
  • Each group creates a search strategy using their keywords and two Boolean Operators.
  • Remember: A Boolean Operator is a mathemataical equation with words that you use to talk to the database!

Now try the same search in Academic Search Complete - how are your results different?

Discussion: Groups will each send one representative to board to present their search strategy; discuss results.

  • Discuss the importance of synonyms
  • Discuss limiters such as date, full text, and peer reviewed.
  • Discuss Scholarly v. Popular.