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Gender Studies Research: Getting Started

This guide provides a starting point for researching gender studies using Library resources.

About This Guide

This guide is designed to be a starting point for members of the Bentley University community who have an interest in using the Library's resources for research on topics in gender studies and gender-related topics. Use the tabs along the top of the guide to go directly to topics or resources that interest you.

Keywords in Gender Issues

Gender Issues topics are often interdisciplinary, requiring keywords that describe the gender aspect of the topic as well as keywords related to other disciplines (for example, history, politics, literature, etc.). Search databases and the library catalog with the following general words and phrases related to gender issues, and add keywords from other disciplines as relevant. 

Search Tip: Use quotation marks to search two or more words as a phrase, and use an asterisk to search for all words with a common root (for example, femini* will find articles containing the words feminist, feminine and femininity).

Please note that while some of these terms may be outdated, many are still used in online databases and in library catalog subject headings.

  • gender relations, male-female relationships, gender roles, sex roles
  • women, femininity, older women, married women
  • men, masculinity, older men, husbands
  • lesbians, bisexual women, gay men, sexual minorities
  • gender identity, gender differences, sex differences, genderqueer, transgender*

Other search strategies to use:

  • Combine keywords from multiple disciplines: "gender roles" and "histor*" (history, historical)
  • Use specific personal, corporate or geographical names, events, movements or official texts as part of your search: Andrea Dworkin, United States, "Third Wave feminism," Title IX, etc.

Growing your Keyword List

Places you can look to expand your list of keywords:

  • Abstracts/summaries of journal articles. Even if the journal article is not suitable for your topic, you may find keywords or common terms used in that field of research that you can add to your list.
  • Indexes of books that you find on the library's shelves. These are organized by keyword.
  • Subject headings assigned to individual books in the library catalog. Click on the subject links at the bottom of the information listed for a single book in the library catalog, and a list of related subjects will display.
  • "Suggested Topics" given on results pages when searching databases. These terms are the "official" ones used by particular databases to describe concepts.