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NSF REU: Bioarchaeology of Bronze Age Social Systems: Example Topic / Search Term Generation

This libguide is in support of the research conducted by undergraduate students participating in the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program sponsored by the University of South Alabama.

Example Topic / Search Term Generation

Keyword Synonym / Closely Related Broader / More General Narrower / More Specific
mortuary practices

funerary remains

mortuary ritual

death rites


burial chamber



grave goods


minimum number of individuals



tomb membership


feature-based MNI

Bronze Age

Early Bronze Age

Middle Bronze Age


Umm an-Nar


Wadi Suq

Arabia Arabian Peninsula

Near East

Middle East

United Arab Emirates (UAE)


Tips for searching:

  • Write your topic out, being as specific as possible..

  • Brainstorm as many search terms before you begin your research.

  • When looking for articles, more specific search terms are usually better.

    • If you’re getting too many results, use more specific terms, or use the Boolean operator AND to narrow your search.

    • If you’re finding no or too few results, try searching broader or more general terms, or use the Boolean operator OR to expand your search.

  • If you don’t know where to start or keep hitting a dead end, try searching a single keyword (the most important to your topic) to see what is available.

  • If you have any problems, contact your librarian.