Use class readings, newspaper articles, Wikipedia and online encyclopedias such as Credo Reference or Gale Ebooks (links below) to find out basic information about your topic. This will help you brainstorm keywords.
If you have access to the library, you can look at this encyclopedia in the reference section (3rd floor):
Another book of interest:
Come up with keywords around your topic to start searching. When searching, you can play around with different terms to see how it affects your results. Try searching with broader terms vs. more specific. Using regional and time periods as parameters as you go will help you narrow down your topic. Also, pay close attention to the vocabulary that scholars are using when you come across articles. Using those terms will help you when searching!
Put your keywords into the databases like Gender Studies Database, GenderWatch and Historical Abstracts (links in the "Scholarly Articles" tab on the left). Pay attention to who wrote the article, what journal it was published in and when it was published. When you consider the results, you need to evaluate different articles in order to find one that best serves your purpose. You should spend time on the abstract of articles that might be of interest and then skimming before you decide on what you'd like to read. Try different words in different databases and see what you discover. Give yourself time to enjoy this process!
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