Skip to Main Content

AFAM 141N - African American Read-In Engaged Learning Experience

Professor Megan Simpson

How To Select a Topic

Consider what interested you from in class discussions or readings.

Visit Wikipedia to learn about the scope of a topic.

Things to consider:

  • Who?
    • Person, groups, organization, etc.
  • What?
    • Events, legacy, arguments/ positions, etc.
  • Where?
    • City, state, geographic region, etc.
  • When?
    • Month, year, century, etc.
  • Why? or How?
    • Factors, causes, reactions to other events, etc.

Choosing Search Terms and Keywords

Search terms can be generated from in-class readings, general knowledge or results from other searches.

To find relevant results in LionSearch, a database, or Google:

Try using Boolean operators (and, or, not):

AND narrows your search results

  • environmental justice AND United States

OR expands and broadens your search results

  • Black OR African American 

NOT excludes and narrows your search results

  •  Black  NOT hole

Try using quote marks around phrases (words naturally spoken together and names of people):

  • "Black Lives Matter"
  • "Richard Wright"
  • "Hattie Carthan"
  • "National Black Environmental Justice Network"

Try using site:. to limit your web domain (.edu - .org - .gov. - .mil):

  • environmental protection agency and race

When generating keywords or subjects to search with, consider how some of the books have been cataloged in the PSU Library system. Start with something below and add other terms.

Examples subjects from books in the Catalog:

  • American Literature - African American authors
  • African American women authors
  • African Americans - Travel
  • African American agriculturists
  • Environmental protection
  • African American women - Social conditions
  • Ecology in literature
  • Environmentalism in literature
  • Nature in literature