Think of the language that will be the most effective for your search and keep track of search terms that produce the best results. Ask yourself:
Some databases allow you to enter search terms on separate lines (e.g., enter a keyword the top line and researcher or activist's last name below, so as to articulate your search request)
Use Boolean Operators allow you to widen or narrow the search for your keywords and target your research topic (Quotation Marks, Asterisk, AND, OR, NOT):
"Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit" "Mahatma Gandhi"
"political violence" "religious persecution"
violen* = violence, violent
religi* = religion, religions, religion's, religious
history AND religi* AND war
genocide AND religi*
Salem AND witch*
(indigenous OR "first nations") AND "Residential schools"
(China OR Xinjiang) AND Uyghurs AND religi*
(indigenous AND "Residential schools") NOT Canad*
Cambodi* AND "Khmer Rouge" AND genocide NOT Tribunal
Remember there is never one search that can cover everything.
Keep track of your search strategies by recording the search terms that you use and how you use the Boolean Operators to combine them. It can help you keep track of what does and doesn't work.
Certain research databases allow you to create a profile with your UToronto email and save your search history and re-run your searches (useful if you identify a theme you want to add to your argument).
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