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Asian Studies Research Starter: Search tips

Help with your research

On this page you will find tips and suggestions for accessing resources within our Asian studies collection. Scroll down the page for information tailored specifically to researching Asian studies topics. In the Example searches box you will also find a list of searches that have already been performed, giving you access to scholarly search results on a variety of topics.

You can use the skills and tips presented here to access our Asian studies collection


Need a refresher on how to search within a database?  

Suggested subject terms

A subject term is a standardized word or phrase that describes a main idea in the article.

When an article is added to a database, the database will assign subject terms to it from the database's list of subjects. Most articles will have from 3 to 12 subject terms.

Each database has its own set list of subject terms. Subject terms may use technical jargon and odd punctuation. This means you won't be able to easily guess or intuit subject terms on your own. You will have to identify the subject terms in the database, and then use them in a search.

If you want to see all the subject terms used in a particular database, you can search the Subject Index.

Note: Language regarding Asian populations has changed over recent decades. The following list suggests subject terms for research on Asian populations. Terms that are no longer current are marked historical.


Here are some suggested subject terms for searching within our Asian studies collections:

Most Asian research focuses on East Asia and parts of Southeast and South Asia, including Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Those originating from most portions of Central Asia, and parts of South Asia and the Indian subcontinent, largely identify as Middle Eastern, Indian, or other regional terms rather than Asian. However, if your research focuses on geographical regions or boundaries, you should consider proximal locations in your research. Examples within each region are provided below.

Video: Subject Terms Search

(1 min 37 sec) Recorded Feb 2016

Example searches

The following searches were conducted in our multi-database search tool. All results use subject terms when appropriate, are peer-reviewed, and available in full text in the Walden Library. Click any of the links below to view the search results.


Check out the Use example searches box for information on how to modify these example searches to meet your specific search criteria.

Use example searches

You can adapt any of the preset example searches by adding your own search terms.

If you wished to focus on a health condition in a particular population, you would add your term for the health condition to a separate search box, while leaving the example population search terms in place. This is an example search for a preset population and diabetes:

  1. Click on a preset example search from the list.
  2.  On the results page, locate the search boxes at the top of the page. Leave the example search terms in place in the first search box, in this case the population terms Asian Americans OR Asians.
  3. Enter your search term(s) in an empty search box. In this case, enter diabetes in the second search box.

  4. Once you've added your search term(s), click the Search button and review the new results.

You can continue to add other search terms, apply limiters, and shape the search as often as needed to obtain new results.