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East Asian Art

A libguide listing the best resources for the study of Asian Art at the University of Toronto

Background Information

Why do background research?

  • To get a general understanding of the topic
  • To find out which terms are used to identify the topic/concept you are exploring
  • To find out what kinds of words are used to describe the types of information you need:
    • Figure out what you need to address in the assignement and find keywords for these themes
    • Use ALL the keywords you gather to search for peer-reviewed articles and scholarly books

What you can use for background research:

  • Websites (check your course outline - do not include websites that have not been approved by your Professor in your bibliography)
  • Encyclopedias, and scholarly journal articles and books 
  • Wikipedia (YOU CANNOT QUOTE WIKIPEDIA!)

Searching Tips

Quick Info

To find primary and secondary resources, you usually have to use Boolean Operators. These Boolean Operators include AND, OR, NOT.

Search Tips

Use keywords found during your background research and combine them using AND, OR, NOT:

AND - The AND operator is used to narrow a search or to make it more specific. Example search: apples AND oranges. Items that contain BOTH terms will be found. Items that contain just apples, or just oranges, will not.

OR - The OR operator is an inclusive operator. Example search: apples OR oranges. Basically, the opposite of the above. Use OR to combine synonyms or variant terms for the same concept, such as oranges OR tangerines OR clementines.

NOT - The NOT operator is also used to narrow a search but it is done by exclusion. Example search: apples NOT oranges. The result is items that contain the word "apples", but eliminates items that contain the word "oranges". The NOT operator can eliminate items with useful information, however, because it does not weigh the significance of the occurrence of the word. If the item is primarily about apples and only mentions oranges incidentally, the item will not be retrieved. The NOT operator should be used with caution.                                                                                                                                                         

[Adapted from Cal Poly Ponoma library]


Watch a short video about Boolean Searching, created by the University of South Florida Polytechnic