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Pacific Islander Research Starter: Search tips

Help with your research

On this page you will find tips and suggestions for accessing resources within our Pacific Islander collection.  Scroll down the page for information tailored specifically to researching African American 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 Pacific Islander collections.


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.


Here are some suggested subject terms for searching within our Pacific Islander collections:

The Pacific Islands are comprised of three primary regions: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Some research includes other locations not necessarily associated with these regions, such as the Aleutian Islands, Galapagos Islands, and Indonesia. However, the majority of Pacific Island research focuses on the lands contained within these three primary regions. Note that places such as The Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan are also islands in the Pacific but may not be included in Pacific Islander population topics; see the Asian Studies guide for more search help.  

When researching Pacific Islander populations within specific regions or nations, consider searching for both the location and its associated ethnic group name, if available. You can do this by including the Boolean operator OR. For example, searching for Fiji OR Fijian tells the database to search for Fiji, Fijian, or both. You can also use an asterisk (*) after a root word; this tells the database to look for different endings or variation of a root word or letters. For example,  Fiji* would tell the database to look for Fiji, Fijian, etc.

Video: Subject Terms Search

(1 min 37 sec) Recorded Feb 2016

Example searches

The following searches were conducted in Thoreau, 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 these pre-set 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 Pacific Islanders.
  3. Enter your search term(s) in an empty search box. 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.