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MATH 131 and 331: Mathematical Ideas and Explorations

Search Strategy

When starting a project connecting a mathematical concept to another field, you might start with a quick search like this:

Search box with the words film and math filled in

However, you'll find that this usually doesn't get you the results you're looking for, as you'll end up with a lot that's not relevant to your topic. It will help you find better sources if you can map out your topic and identify a more specific mathematical concept, as well as a more specific concept in your subject as in this example.

Topic map showing symmetry as a mathematical concept connected to cinematography and correlation connected to film financials.

You may also find that there aren't a lot of sources that make the connections you need between your mathematical concept and your other topic, but that's okay! If you find a good source on your mathematical concept, and a different source on your other topic, you can make the case in your own presentation or paper about how the two are related.


Choosing Keywords

The "Refine my results" section of OneSearch, highlighting the Topic section.

Sometimes you'll find search results that seem to be about a completely different field of study than what you were looking for. A search for (film and symmetry) will bring up a lot of results about physics and nanotechnology, for example. This is because the word "film" has very different meanings for film studies majors and for physicists and materials scientists. 

One way around this is to narrow your search down. In OneSearch, there are several options for refining your results, and the Topic section allows you to select a relevant topic, such as aesthetics. Alternatively, you could pick a different keyword, such as cinematography over film. This also gives you the advantage of having a more specific, narrow search from the beginning.

The large image on the left shows you where to find the Topic area to narrow your search. The small image on the right shows you that a search for symmetry and film will result in many more resources about engineering that the Films you're looking for.

Some of the topics in the search for symmetry and film, with the most results for engineering

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