English 004 (Traylor): Search Terms

English 4 Research Essay Fall 2019 - Salvage The Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Official Subject Headings

Gulf Coast (Miss.) -- Fiction 


Mississippi -- Gulf Coast 

Gulf Coast (Mississippi) -- Fiction 

Hurricane Katrina (2005) 

African American children -- Fiction 

African American teenage girls -- Fiction 

Brothers and sisters -- Fiction 

Motherless families -- Fiction 

African American families -- Mississippi -- Fiction 

Rural poor -- Mississippi -- Fiction 

Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Fiction 

African American children 

African American families 

African American teenage girls 

Brothers and sisters 

Motherless families 

Rural poor 

Teenagers -- Fiction 

Girls -- Fiction 

Siblings -- Fiction 

African Americans -- Mississippi -- Fiction

Poor -- Mississippi -- Fiction 

FICTION -- African America;

FICTION -- Literary

African American families -- Fiction 

Rural poor -- Fiction 

National Book Award; Fiction

Social Classes

Social Class

Working Class




While not official subject headings,  keywords can be very useful in your research. Keyword searches look at all the information in the book or article record including title, author, abstract, table of contents, etc. It is always helps to think of synonyms, as the way one person would describe something is not the same way another would.

Hurricane Katrina

Greek myths or Greek Mythology or Mythology

Medea and Jason

growing up


Southern or South or American South

African American

writer or author

female or woman or women 


What "Search Terms" to Use?

Using the correct words to search will help you find relevant information, but what is correct? Different authors and search tools use different words to describe the same concepts, so it is useful to have a list of similar and related terms in your tool kit when you set out to search for relevant information. The process of creating these alternative terms is called brainstorming terms or concept mapping.


African American AND Authors

Feel free to experiment and try out searches using your own words and see where that takes you.  Remember, you can't break the  Internet.