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MSCH F306 Writing Media Criticism


OneSearch@IU searches most of Libraries' databases. It is a great place to start your research.

Direct access at

Limit Your Results

More databases can be found on the Libraries homepage under the "Research" tab or the "Top Recommended Resources" (bottom of the page). 

IUCAT Search

IUCAT is the IUB Libraries catalog. Find books, journals, music, and more!

Ways to access IUCAT:  

IUCAT Search Tips

Quick Tips

  • Use quotation marks to search as a phrase.
  • Use "+" before a term to make it required. (Otherwise results matching only some of your terms may be included).
  • Use "-" before a word or phrase to exclude.
  • Use "OR", "AND", and "NOT" to create complex boolean logic.
  • Truncation and wildcards are not supported - word-stemming is done automatically.
  • Access more help at the KB

Simple Search
From the main search page search by Keyword, or limit your search to Title, Author, or Subject. 

Advanced Search 
Choose for more search options. 


Results Page
After entering your search term(s) you will probably get many results. Look at the categories listed on the left side of the page. They can help you narrow your search if needed. ​


Example Search for F306

As an example, let's say your interested in film adaptations of Jane Austen's novel, Emma. First, you'd want to identify adaptations. The Wikipedia article provides a list of adaptations for film and television. 

Next, you might decide which of these adaptations most interests you. Let's say you find the loose adaptation of Emma as the 1995 teen drama-comedy Clueless of particular interest because of its place as an early example of the High School movie genre, and how the satire of that genre intersects with Austen's genre: the Novel/comedy of Manners. Both reconstruct detailed, social worlds that explore relationships, gendered spaces, wealth, masculinity, and female empowerment. You decide that your research will focus on depictions of gender in the high school movie genre.

Now its time to generate some keywords (see Search Strategies for more on developing keywords):

Clueless, Emma, High School movie, Comedy of Manners, Novel of Manners, gendered space, female empowerment, masculinity.

A good database to begin using these keywords is the Film & Literature Index with Full Text.

An image of the landing page for the database with a keyword search bar.

You can start by searching for a few of your keywords using Boolean Operators (more on that in the Search Strategies page). For example, let's try "Clueless" AND "Emma":


Screenshot of database showing 9 results for search terms "Emma" AND "Clueless"


This reveals some promising articles that compare Austen's works with the film Clueless. However, since this is a film writing class, your paper should focus more on aspects of a film. So try searching for "Clueless" AND "Masculinity" AND "High School movie" 

Number 3 looks like a possible source for your paper, so you click on the record:


From the record, you can pull further subject terms to use in a search. You can click on those subject terms to perform a search in the database for each term if you wish. You can also read the abstract to determine if it might be relevant before getting the PDF (which you can do by clicking the IU-Link button on the left side of the page). On the right, you can use the tools to save this item to a folder, pull a citation, or generate a permanent link to this record. 

This is just one example of how you could perform a search in a database! Explore the Finding Resources and Search Strategies page and then get started on your own. Happy searching! 

Useful Databases

A few good databases to get you started.

What Are Databases & Why You Need Them

From Yavapai College Library.

Database Search Fields

Records in library databases are made of "fields." Fields can help narrow your search.


  • author
  • title
  • journal title
  • abstract
  • publisher
  • date/year of publication
  • subject/descriptor
  • all text (searches the full text, if available)


Improving Search Results with Fields

  • Most databases automatically search by keyword (looking for the term anywhere in the record).
  • Limit the field for a search term to narrow the results. 
  • Fields are usually in drop down boxes.
  • If the database has a single search box with no drop-down menu, look for an "Advanced Search" option.

Adapted from SAIS Library, Johns Hopkins Univ. "Database Search Tips" Guide

Identify Keywords with Subjects

Subject Terms can help you identify effective keywords. Most databases list Subjects in their search results.

To use subject terms from you search results: 

1. Do an initial search. 

2. Under Refine Search click on Subject.

Books vs. Articles

Books Articles
  • usually cover a wider range of topics
  • shorter, usually focused on one aspect of a topic
  • longer time to publish (generally several years)
  • less time to publish (generally several months to 2 years)
  • found in IUCAT
  • found in OneSearch and other databases
  • used in research papers more often than are books