Transitions in Women's and Gender Studies

Course Instructor: 

Debra Graham

When you are starting to research a topic, it is a good idea to think about your search terms first.  How would you describe your topic?  What are the names or attributes of your topic?  These will become the keywords that you use when searching for resources.  For this class, you will also look for these terms in the abstracts that describe journals (rather than in abstracts of articles!).

This course focuses on transition and transformation.  From the course outline, the following are key phrases which you may wish to use along with other search terms:

  • feminist discourse
  • feminist activism
  • feminist academic
  • intersectionality
  • feminst geography
  • gender
  • transgender
  • postfeminism
  • transhumanism
  • disability
  • feminist methods
  • feminist work

Tip: Surround key phrases with double quotation marks, so that the database knows that it is to be treated as a unit.

In order to express your topic properly, you likely will have to combine search terms.  This is referred to as "Boolean keyword searching".

If you have terms that are essentially equivalent, such as women, girl, female, and you are not concerned about exactly which term is found in the search results, you can join these terms using OR:

women OR girl OR female

If you have more than one concept, and you want both (all) of those concepts to be present in the search results, you join concepts together using AND:

"feminist activism" AND work

If you are including alternative terms for a concept, join these terms with OR but place the entire concept in brackets so that the database knows how to identify the concept.  For instance:

"feminist activism" AND (work OR occupation OR profession OR job)

Tip: For more on how to construct good searches, consult:  Database Search Strategies