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African Studies: Getting Started

Related Guides

Find Background Information

Encyclopedias and Reference Books

Britannica Online
Consists of a fully searchable and browsable collection of authoritative references,

CQ (Congressional Quarterly) Researcher Plus Archive
The CQ Researcher Plus Archive explores a single “hot” issue in the news in depth each week. Topics range from social issues to environment, health, education and science and technology.

Credo Reference
Credo Reference is a general reference database and is a great place to start your research. There are several ready-reference encyclopedias and fact books.

From Off Campus

Most Library online resources can be accessed from off campus by current UD faculty, staff, and students. When using links on these pages, you may be prompted for your UDelNetID and password. Please report any issues you encounter while accessing Library databases, e-journals, or e-books.

The Research Process


1. Choose a topic that interests you. Find background information to help you know more about your topic and to narrow your focus.

2. Think of a search strategy. What do you want more information on? Choose keywords you can use to search for your topic. Think of key concepts, synonyms, and related terms.

3. Find sources. Here is where this guide can help. Find print or electronic books, articles, audiovisual media, and websites that can help you find more information on your topic.

4. Evaluate. Modify your keywords or databases if you're not finding good sources. Research is a process.

Keyword Searching in the Library Catalog and Databases

 Using AND/OR/NOT (Logical Operators)

Use AND to focus your search and to combine different aspects of your topic.

Example: environment AND agriculture AND "South Africa"

Use OR to expand your search and find synonyms/related terms.

Example: "global warming" OR "climate change"

Use NOT to exclude a word or phrase from your search

Example: tsunami NOT Japan


More tips:

"Phrase search": Use quotation marks to search for a particular phrase. Example: "greenhouse gas emissions"

Truncation *: Use an asterisk to find variations of a word. Put an asterisk following the root of the word to find all variations of that word, including singular and plural. Example: environment* (finds environments, environmental, environmentalist, etc.)

(Grouping/Nesting Keywords): Use parentheses as a way to group all your search terms together. Example: (climate change or global warming) and population growth

Logical Operators (AND, OR, NOT):  Capitalize logical operators AND, OR, NOT

Recommendation for Library Purchase

The Library welcomes suggestions for books, journals, videos and other material. Please use the Recommendation for Purchase form to send your suggestions.

Subject Librarian

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Kaitlyn Tanis
History and Social Sciences Librarian
Reference & Instructional Services

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