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Moulton ENG101 Popular Culture

Page history last edited by CAC Library 6 years ago

Suggested Search Terms


Online articles

For current information on popular culture, online resources are often the best place to begin researching.  Books take some time to be written, reviewed and published, so they may not address the most recent, moment-by-moment changes in culture.  


Academic OneFile

You can do a keyword search to find a large number of articles, or click on Subject Guide Search button below the search box to get more focused results.  If you have a topic that is too broad and need to narrow your focus, use the Topic Finder icon on the front page; choose between the wheel or tiles format to see how others have searched for this issue. Click a narrower TopicFinder option to see relevant articles.


You can try using the terms below as a starting point.  If you are looking for scholarly sources, check the limiting box on the right marked "peer-reviewed journals" in your results list.  Otherwise, remember you can also search for (non-scholarly) sources like magazines and news in your results list.


General subject terms


Basketball players
Body art

Comedy movies
Documentary movies


Gay and lesbian culture

Gender equality

Heavy metal music

Hip-Hop (culture)

Online education

Plastic surgery

Popular culture

Reality television programs

Reggae music

Romantic love

Technology and society


Video games

World of Warcraft (multiplayer online game)


Search as keywords to find related subjects


Name of an actor/ director


Name of a musician/ band


Name of an athlete/ team


Title of a book/ author


Title of an album/ song/ concert


Title of a movie/TV show


A popular movement


An important idea


A historical event

Possible narrowing terms


Criticism and appreciation



Beliefs, opinions and attitudes


Forecasts and trends

(Motion Picture) -- for films

(Nonfiction work)


(Television program)

(Fictional character)

(Music group)




  1. In addition to searching for your basic topic (Johnny Cash), also search for the broader subject (Country music) to see how your topic relates to the bigger picture.  [Other examples: Goodfellas ---> Martin Scorsese or Goodfellas ---> gangster movies; Hippies ---> 1960s (Decade)]
  2. Do a subject search by clicking on Subject Guide Search button in the black bar.  Once you have found your subject, click the plus sign icon to open up Subdivisions.  These are articles on particular aspects of your topic, which can give you very particular and focused information (Johnny Cash -- works, Johnny Cash -- family, Johnny Cash -- appreciation.)  You may also want to look at related subjects for more ideas and resources.
  3. In your results list, using the document types may be helpful.  Book/movie/sound recording reviews will be evaluations of particular works by a performer.  Many times, an article, essay, report or critical essay will be more in-depth and will provide a larger overview.  A brief article is usually less than two pages and may be too short to help you in your research. 
  4. You may be able to "layer" different subjects to find really specific articles.  For example, you can find information on college and high school age volunteers by searching two subjects simultaneously.  Go to the advanced search (the plus-magnifying glass) and use the dropdown box to select subject, then type volunteerism.  Add a second subject of college students, subject high school students or subject youth volunteers. Any articles found will have both the subjects listed.



OmniFile (EBSCOhost)

You can do a basic keyword search by entering in your search terms (or ones listed above) on the first screen.  To search only for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles, click the box marked "scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals" under the "limit your results" bar. 


To search for a particular subject, click advanced search under the search box.  On the next screen, enter your subject and change the drop-down box at right from "select a field" to "SU subject." Please note: the subjects may vary from database to database!  Here are a few topics that are different in OmniFile:


Comedy movies (in OneFile)
Comedy films (in OmniFile)
Documentary movies   Documentary films
Gay and lesbian culture   Gay culture [includes lesbian culture as a subtopic]
Hip-hop (culture)   Hip-hop
Online education   Internet in higher education OR web-based instruction
Technology and society   Technology -- social aspects
World of Warcraft (multiplayer online game)   World of Warcraft (game)



To do a subject search, use the Thesaurus in the blue bar for subjects related to your topic.  Select "term contains" (the words you type) or "relevancy ranked" (to get the most relevant first.)  Type your term and hit enter.  Put a check in front of any subjects you wish to search; for more details, click on the name of the subject to get a break-down of content.  Once you have checked your subject(s), click "add" in the green bar, and your subject should appear in the search box.  Click "search" to begin finding articles.




Polaris Online Catalog (for books found in the library)

You can do a general keyword search from the first box by typing your term(s) and clicking "go."  If you prefer a subject search, type your term(s) but change the "search by" (one line down) from "any field" to "subject." This finds books at the CAC libraries on your subject.  Use the list below to find books on your topic.


Please note also that for many performers, you will see their albums or movies in your results list.  To see only paper books, on the first search screen, use the limit-by drop-down box and change it from CAC -- All formats to CAC -- books.  This will exclude movies, streaming videos and ebooks.


You can adjust your subject search to include more specific topics (like the Johnny Cash example in OneFile: here we have Cash, Johnny -- criticism and interpretation.)  Using this *will* include titles from the public libraries as well as our CAC materials.  In the blue bar above the search box, go to Search and choose Browse.  Change the "Search for" option from Title to Subject and enter your search term from the list below.  Scroll to see other topics of interest, and click on the subject you prefer.  "System availability" numbers tell you how many copies are in the entire Pinal County system; "local availability" is how many copies are owned by CAC libraries.  


e-Books in our databases


Pop Culture Universe

Search by keyword for your topic. People are usually covered very well in this database.  Look for links throughout the articles to take you to related topics or people.  If you don't find material on your first search (for example, Assassin's Creed,) then try a broader term (video games, XBox, etc.)


Pop Culture eBooks

Use the Quick Search to find book excerpts that contain your search terms.  This resource won't work for all topics, but it does have a great deal of information so it's worth searching.  Please be aware, though, that these books are from 2009 and earlier so the newest events/ figures may not appear here. 


Gale Virtual Reference Library

Search using keywords.  Remember that these are subject-specific encyclopedias, so you'll want to keep your search terms broad.  You can use many of the suggested subjects above as a starting point in your keyword search, or search for specific names and/or titles.


eBook Collection (EBSCOhost)

To search by keywords, use the search box at the top of the page.  Click the titles to see your term in each book, then click on the links for each page to find your term.  EBook Collection has a huge assortment of books, so you may find *too much* information; be selective in what you find here.



Additional sources

American Mosaic: African American Experience

American Mosaic: American Indian Experience

American Mosaic: Latino American Experience
American Mosaic eBooks

American Mosaic provides articles on people, events and history relating to particular ethnicities and backgrounds.  These resources may be helpful for some but not all topics. 



Newsbank provides (non-scholarly) coverage of topics from newspapers around the world.   For the most recent, up-to-the-moment coverage of a topic, search here for articles.  Begin by selecting United States news (unless you are discussing an international pop culture topic, like K-pop, a pop music style from South Korea.)  You can do a keyword search through the entire article, but you may receive more precise results if you change the "all text" drop-down box to "lead/first paragraph" or "headline."  There will be a lot of results, so it can be helpful to limit to source type: newspapers and to select the most recent year unless you are looking for historical information.  You can also change the article ranking in the upper-right from "best matches first" (which gives you the most relevant information) to "newest matches first" to see the most recent (which may only mention your topic.)

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