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Social Studies Subject Guide: Modern World



Click Here for the Passwords List.  You'll need to log in as a Catlin Gabel student or employee.  Having trouble? Contact your division librarian.

Search Skills: The Basics

Search Skills

Brainstorm a list of keywords and phrases relevant to your question, and include synonyms.  Don't skip this step!  Think about synonyms for your keywords and phrases.

Use quotation marks for exact phrases:

  • ex:  "armenian genocide"
  • ex:  "boko haram"

Wild cards find all versions of a word when added after the word's root:

  • ex:  iraq* finds iraq and iraquis, etc.
  • ex: sanction* finds sanction, sanctions, sanctioning, etc.

Start with a general search, and narrow it down as you look through your results.

Read abstracts when they are available.  They're brief summaries of the contents of a long, complex article.  Abstracts are hugely helpful. NOTE:  A small percentage of articles in JSTOR include abstracts.

Need Help? Ask Sue or Derek!

War Unit

(The Siege of Sarajevo, 1992-1993. Wikimedia Commons. Photo by Christian Maréchal.)

War Unit
Databases can be helpful for getting background information about a country or region's involvement in a conflict or war.  Here are some good places to begin.
These databases are helpful sources of journal articles, book chapters (Academic Source Premier and JSTOR), and some newspaper articles. 


BBC History: World Wars
Features short, factual articles about several large interntional conflicts from a reliable British news source.

The Gale Ebooks source provides fully searchable chapters from hundreds of published, peer-reviewed books designed for students of Social Studies.  Use the search screen to find useful chapters.  There's citation help on the right of each page.

How-To Videos
These short clips show you how to search the databases quickly to find what you need. 

How to search Academic Search Premier database

Modern World - Searching Academic Search Premier — Watch Video

How to Search JSTOR (a quick overview)

Modern World - JSTOR Search — Watch Video


How to Search Modern World History Online (a quick overview)


Your US Librarian

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Sue Phillips
Upper School Library
503.297.1894 x4550 (circulation desk); (503)297-1894 x4100 (voicemail)