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Sociology 111 - South Bend-Elkhart

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→ Use our library databases to narrow down a topic idea that's too broad

If you have a very broad idea but can’t think of more specific topics related to it, try using the thesaurus or list of subject terms in one of our article or reference databases:

Nearly every article database has this kind of tool! Whichever database you choose to open, you’ll see a link to a thesaurus or subjects in the menu along the top of the screen.

Here is how this tool works: Click on “Subject Terms” or “Subjects” or “Thesaurus.” The subject search area will appear, and you can enter your terms in the box and click browse.

After searching for your terms, click on the entry in the list of search results. You should now have a long list of related subject terms that you can scroll through until you come across something you want to research further. Once you find one you like, you can click on it and it will bring you to a page with even more search terms related to what you clicked on.

From here, you can select the box next to any term you want to use in your article search, then click the add button. This will add those terms to your main search bar at the top of the screen. Then you can click search. Now you will have a smaller, more curated list of articles related to your specific subject terms- Which is easier and less overwhelming to look through than a long list of unrelated articles.