A. It is often helpful to start with a brief overview of scholarship. This type of summary can help you focus on what part of a topic most interests you and it can point to readings that are generally considered important.
B. After having some targets for your topic it is often time-efficient to start with LionSearch and after gathering some sources there moving on to more specialized sources.
C. In any system it is often good to start with simple searches and to adapt to more complex search strategies after having become familiar with the language used in the source you are searching. Here are some techniques that improve search results in most systems:
Truncation = Chop off a word to get multiple endings
Usually an asterisk (*) sometimes other symbols
africa* = Africa, African, Africans, Africanist
Phrase = Match words only if in this sequence.
Usually quotes (“ “) but sometimes other symbols
Boolean AND = Prefer if both terms are present.
Bamana AND metal*
Boolean OR = Give equal preference to both terms. (Good for synonymns.)
Bamana OR Bambara
Field Specifiers = Limit a term to one part of the database record (author, subject, etc.)
See, for example, the Advanced LionSearch screen.
Grouping Terms = Execute these combinations first.
Usually parentheses ().
(Bambara OR Bamana) AND (metal* OR iron*)