For Essay #3, you will research a con or a popular portrayal of a con––a book, a documentary, a movie––and make an argument about what it helps us understand about one or more facets of American life. You'll use at least 1 primary source and 4-6 secondary sources, at least 2 of which are peer-reviewed.
Sidney Poitier / David Hampton
► Use relevant keywords. You might start with the name of the con, or con artist, you've chosen -- e.g., Bernard Madoff. If that doesn't bring up enough material, try using a more general word or phrase: e.g., Ponzi schemes.
► If necessary, add more keywords that express your idea or claim: e.g., forgery
► Think of synonyms or other alternative words or phrases: e.g., swindle, con, deceive, impersonate, pretend, trick, fool.
► Truncate, or shorten, your keywords with a wildcard character (usually an asterisk) to bring in variations. For example, swindl* will give you search results containing swindler and swindling.
► Use the Advanced Search options to find your keywords in prominent places, such as the title of an article or the subject.
► Every database provides ways to narrow your search results. See the examples from HOLLIS on the next tab. You can always turn off a search limit if it proves too restrictive.
► When you find a really good result, see if its description provides other keywords, headings, or tags that will link to similar material.
► Search news databases for facts about the con, the perpetrator, or the social impact of the con. These can provide more keywords for searching.
► When you find a good article or book, scan the bibliography or footnotes for other good sources.
► In HOLLIS records, click on the Subject links to bring up other books or articles on the same subject.