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American Studies Research Guide: Find Articles

This guide provides general information about researching for American Studies.

GALILEO Password

If you are off-campus and cannot get access to GALILEO, see the GALILEO Password and Off-Campus Access page.

Search Databases in GALILEO

Try searching at least three or four databases – try different search terms (also look below for Suggested Search Terms), and experiment using the drop-down menus to search through the full-text and the title of the article.

For even more databases, go to GALILEO and look at the subjects of History, Social Sciences, and Literature, Language, and Literary Criticism under Browse by Subject (or select other subjects based on your research needs). This will give you suggested databases to search. The databases listed here are part of the database offerings in GALILEO, Georgia's Virtual Library. GALILEO

Can't Find the Full-Text Article?

If you find an article citation that you like, but it is not available in full-text, first check our Journal Finder.

Type in the name of the Journal, not the title of the individual article. See if the particular issue you need is available in the physical library or in another online database.

If it is not available, we can Interlibrary Loan the material for you. This generally takes 3-5 business days if it is coming from within Georgia.

Suggested Search Terms

Aside from your own searching, you may want to try some of these suggested search terms for your searches.

United States History United States Church History United States Social Life and Customs
United States History Colonial Period United States Religion United States in Art
United States History Confederation United States Civilization United States in Literature
United States History Constitutional Period United States. Constitution United States in Motion Pictures
United States History Revolution United States Economic Conditions United States Intellectual Life
United States History Civil War United States Economic Policy American Drama
United States Territorial Expansion United States Emigration and Immigration American Essays
Indians United States Race Relations American Fiction
Indians of North America United States Ethnic Relations American Fiction History and Criticism
United States History, Military United States Foreign Relations American Literature
United States Politics and Government United States Social Policy American Literature History and Criticism
United States Biography United States Social Conditions American Poetry

Boolean Operators -- And, Or, Not

Most databases have a Guided, or Advanced, search option that will allow you to easily limit your search terms to specific fields. Boolean operators (and, or, not) are easier to use in this search mode. Additional ways to limit searches are by date, language, peer reviewed journals, and publication.

Refining your search: After your initial few searches, evaluate your results. Are there any aspects of your topic you need to add to your search? Make a note of the subject headings or descriptors attached to your results. You might be able to use these for additional searches. Did you receive too few results? If so, try expanding your search. Limit your search if you retrieved too many records.

Boolean Operator Basics: The Boolean connectors AND, OR, and NOT are often used to combine keywords or concepts when searching electronic databases. Using these operators can make your search more focused, thus yielding more precise search results.

  • AND is a connector that requires both words to be present in each record in your results. For example, searching for Livy AND historiography will only retrieve citations that include both terms. Use AND to narrow your search.
  • OR expands your search by allowing either word to be present in your search results. For example, as search on Livy AND (historiography OR method) will yield the following: All resulting citations will contain the word "Livy." In addition, all results will contain either "historiography" or "method" (or both).
  • NOT is used to exclude terms from your search. For example, if you did not want to find any references to book reviews, you could try searching for Livy NOT "book review"

For more help with boolean operators, see the boolean operators tutorials in the Research Tutorials page.

Need Help Searching?

You may want to look at our Research Tutorials page, which feature videos that help with searching databases.

Need More Assistance?

If you need additional help, please contact the reference librarian by coming by the Reference Desk, by calling 404-364-8506, or by emailing

Civil War Painting

The Storming of Fort Wagner, by Kurz and Allison, ca. July 5, 1890. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.