Topic: Body Image
Get a Feel for the Conversation
What are the different perspectives on issues related to body image? Collecting diverse opinions can lead you to a more nuanced understanding of the topic, and can tell you where the 'charged' issues are in the current public conversation. See the Opposing Viewpoints resources listed below for a selection of opinion editorials (and more) on the topic of body image.
What population(s) are you focusing on? teenagers? college-age students? men? women? women of color? women in a particular country? Though there can be overlap among demographics, each group will likely have its own influencing factors related to body image, and it is important to recognize what those are in order to render an accurate representation in your research.
Specificity Adds Interest
It's good to keep the big picture in mind when conducting research, but consider tying the larger context to a specific artifact or example that you can explore in depth and detail. Artifacts could include types of women's shoes, lingerie, hair styles, muscle mass ideals, etc. Exploring one artifact in detail adds interest and specificity, while tying the artifact back to larger themes maintains context.
Top 5 Recommendations
Taking the research interest that's in your mind and translating it into keyword searches can be challenging. Below is a sample breakdown of the process:
Research Question: ''How does social media influence how young women view their bodies?"
We want to break this idea into key terms, and supplement those terms with synonyms and related concepts found during our background research.
Sample Key Terms: 'social media,' 'body image' and 'girls' come to mind, but also consider 'adolescents', 'self esteem', 'self image', etc. Remember to include keywords related to potential subtopics, such as 'body surveillance', 'photo editing,' 'social comparison', 'mental health' etc.
Putting it All Together: These keywords are the building blocks of several searches on the same topic, as we'll want to try variations of our search to pull the best selection.
Sample search strings: ''self image'' AND "self esteem" AND girls or "social media" AND girls AND "self image"
See how one of the sample search strings plays out in the library's ProQuest Central database. We would want to do several additional variations on other aspects of the topic to get a full picture.
Suggested Search Terms
Continue to build a word bank of search terms related to your specific focus, but here are some suggested terms:
body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
muscle dysmorphia (MD)