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Stereotypes: Myths and Reality

Use this guide to research cultural, racial, and national stereotypes and strategies to debunk myths of negative stereotypes.

The Importance of Books

Using books for biology research

  • Generally, for research in the sciences, it is important to find the most current material available.
  • Reference books can provide excellent short overviews of topics. Many reference books are available in online versions e.g. Credo Reference and Sage Knowledge.
  • Books may also be good introductions or overviews to current topics in biology as well, but keep in mind that publishing a book takes a while so books may not cover the absolutely most recent developments on a topic. Try searching for articles in the databases under the Find Articles tab. 

Do I have to read the whole book? No, not necessarily.

  • Use the table of contents and the index to find where in a book information about your topic is located.
  • The introduction to a book may be a good place to find background information on the topic the book is about.
  • You should read enough of a book or chapter to understand what an author is saying and quote her correctly.
  • Sometimes chapters in books are complete works written by different authors, making them ideal for research.

Keyword vs. Subject Searching

Keyword searching and Subject searching each have their strengths. Keyword searching allows one to begin a search without knowledge of official Library of Congress subject headings. Also, when keywords are combined with the word "AND," different concepts can be linked to narrow ones search.

Subject heading searching, though, can be more targeted and precise once one comes to learn what the subject headings are in a field. This is especially useful in large catalogs such as MOBIUS, where keyword searches can often produce lengthy results lists with a quite a few false hits.

NOTE: Since generally the more current information you can find the better,remember to apply "date" limits on Keyword searches or "Limit/Sort" and then "Sort results by year" options for Subject searches. These features are located at the top of your results screens.

Keyword Searching

When searching in the Library Catalog for books, it is best to start simple. Just typing in stereotypes as a keyword search will allow you to browse a wide variety of books that matched the keyword search. 

Once you select a topic, you can continue searching and refine your keyword search strategies, Use terms related to your topic connected with the word "AND." 

  • To broaden your search you might truncate a search term: 
    •  stereotyp* and psychology
  • The asterisk (*) truncates a term and will retrieve words that start with the indicated letters and have any ending up to 5 more letters. For example, stereotyp* will retrieve results which may include stereotypestereotypes, stereotyping, etc. 

Keyword searching is a strategy which may require repeated attempts before arriving at useful results. If you are finding that you aren't having much success at selecting keywords, you might Ask-a-Librarian for help.

Subject searching

Library of Congress Subject Headings are terms which librarians use to describe the subject contents of books. Since librarians agree to use the same terms, once you learn an official subject heading you can use it in many different library catalogs. Sometimes subject headings can be difficult to guess because they are technical or formal terms for a topic. You may need to Ask-a-Librarian to find appropriate subject headings for your topic.

Below are some useful general subject headings in the field of biology. Each of these has extensive sub-headings

  • Stereotypes (Social Psychology) --  view the subheadings and related subject headings listed here
  • Intercultural Communication - view the subheadings and related subject headings
  • Diversity in the workplace

Tip: Results from your keyword searches may also help you identify appropriate Library of Congress Subject Headings. Look at the complete record of a book which is useful for your topic to find its subject headings. You can then use these headings to search your topic in the STLCC Catalog more efficiently.  Again, Ask-a-Librarian for help with subject searching if you are having difficulty.

Reference Databases


St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000