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Italian Culture Through Cinema: Research Process

Reliable vs Non-Reliable

You may find sources in the Internet or in your university library's catalog, no matter where you look, always evaluate a source.


  • Is the information current enough for your needs?
  • When was it published?


  • Is the information based on fact or opinion?
  • Are the claims supported by facts and trustable data?
  • Is the information well-balanced, objective, and non-biased? 
  • Does the author attribute sources?


  • Who is the author?
  • What is the affiliation of the author?
  • What are the credentials?
  • What publishing house supports the publication?


  • Is the article/book peer-reviewed?
  • Do you see grammatical errors?
  • Does it look legitimate?
  • Does the author provides contact information?


  • What is the intent of the work?
  • What is the domain of a website?
  • Who is the target audience?

Background Search

When looking for information, your first step is to find background information to have an overview of the topic. Background sources will connect you to essential terms associated with the subject matter, dates, names, and other information that will help refine your search. You can find background information in general and subject-specific encyclopedias, dictionaries, and even textbooks.

Linking Your Search Terms

Image shows boolean search: immigration AND Italy AND film OR movie OR motion picture OR cinema

Boolean Searching Tips

Boolean Operator Example What It Does
AND Immigration AND Italy AND film Narrows your search
OR movie OR motion picture OR cinema Broadens your search
NOT Italy AND film NOT food Weeds out unhelpful stuff
"Quotation Marks" "Roberto Rossellini" Searches an exact phrase, those words in that order
* (Asterisk)


(Will include possibilities like Italian, Italianism, italianismos

Includes all possible word ending variations


Working with your Keywords

Keywords: The topic of your research will generate keywords and related terms.

  • "commedia all'italiana" OR "comedy Italian style"
  • "Italian terrorism" OR organized crime AND film
  • "Italian Neorealism" AND post-war OR "Rome Open City"
  • Divorce AND patriarchal Italy 
  • divorce AND Italy AND 1960s OR Divorce Italian Style 
  • Neorealism AND "La Strada" OR "Italian working class"
  • "Italian family" AND urban life AND film
  • "Rocco and his Brother" AND Il ponte della Ghisolfa 
  • Cinema Paradiso AND Sicily OR revitalization Italian film
  • One Hundred Steps AND Marco Tullio Giordana
  • Marco Tullio Giordana AND Peppino Impastato OR political activist 
  • Gomorrah AND Matteo Garrone AND "Italian crime"


An interesting reading: Fullwood, N. (2015). Cinema, gender, and everyday space : comedy, Italian style / Natalie Fullwood. Palgrave Macmillan.

Finding Film Reviews

Searching in databases uses similar logic to the one we used in the library's catalog OneSearch. 

  • La vita e bella AND benigni AND film review
  • Il postino AND Radford AND "film review"
  • I cento passi AND Giordana AND film criticism 

Using Italian keywords in your Search

When doing research one of the initial steps is collecting terms that are related to your topic. Consider the terms below.

Italian search terms related to Italian cinema: amore, divorzio, l'infanzia, la famiglia moderna, problemi socio-economici, identita sessuale, seconda guerra mondiale, il matromonio, fascismo, olocausto, multiculturalismo, mafia, attisvismo, terrorismo, Brigate Rosse

Films and Film Reviews

Combine Search Words

AND  link words by AND to search for all words in the same resource

OR  link words by OR to search for one word or another (instead of both/all words)

NOT  to eliminate results with a certain term

“Quotations” – add quotations to a group of two or more words to search for the exact phrase 

Working Off-Campus

Begin from the libraries homepage. Click on a library database or resource, follow the log-in screen instructions.

Access licensed resources  with your

identikey username and password.

authentication screen


Consider downloading a browser plugin for quick access to CU Library resources, wherever you are on the web.

Learn more about off-campus access.