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African Studies and African Country Resources @ Pitt: Tutorials & Help

This guide provides selected high-quality resources on the global, political, economic, social and cultural aspects of the continent of Africa and its countries. It features individual country pages as well as sources searchable by topic or country.


Click on the image to watch the video. 

Article databases, online library catalogs, and many popular search engines share several general searching techniques.  Once you master these common searching tecniques, you will save yourself time and find more relevant results. 

Instructional Tutorials @ ULS

Each ULS tutorial introduces and teaches an information seeking concept or skill. In order to view and use these tutorials, users should download Adobe Shockwave Player 7 or later. The tutorials are best viewed using speakers or headphones.

Selecting Keywords

The Search terms or keywords you use to search are what determine the results you get.  Here's a good exercise to help you generate keywords:

   1.  Express your topic in a topic sentence:  "What is the effect of television violence on children?"

   2. Generate keyword search terms by identifying the main ideas or concepts within that topic sentence:  "What is the effect of television on children?" =  Effect, Television,  Violence or Television violence, and Children.

   3. Expand your search terms by brainstorming related terms or synonyms that describe your main ideas:   

  • Violence – aggression
  • Effect – influence
  • Children – toddlers, youngsters, boys, girls
  • Television - media, TV

Combining Search Terms

You can create complex search strategies by combining keywords using the linking words AND, OR and NOT.  For example, if your search terms are mathematics and curriculum:

  • AND – Narrows and focuses the search results.  The search mathematics and curriculum will bring only results where both the terms mathematics and curriculum are present.  
  • OR – Broadens the search results.  Using or will bring results where the term mathematics is present, or results where curriculum is present, or results where both terms are present.  Or is useful if you have more than one way to refer to a concept -- Example: elementary or primary.
  • NOT – Excludes anything where the term after the NOT is present. 

Can't Find It?

Although worldwide access to physical materials is very limited at this time, if we do not have electronic access to a particular book, article, or other resource in our collection, you can request access locally or from another library through our free interlibrary loan services.

If you have any questions about this, please contact us so we can work with you to try and get the material you need.

LibGuide on PITTCat+

For additional help with PITTCat+ advanced features  visit our LibGuide on Discovering PITTCat+ , which includes a printable  handout "Searching PITTCat+" and a video tutorial.

At a Regional Campus?

Contact your regional library for help.

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