SOCSCI – Subject Hopping Activity

SOCSCI – Subject Hopping Activity

Practice: Subject-Hopping Activity


Start by finding a book related to your most likely major research topic in the McMaster Library Catalogue. (Any book.) Remember to click to use the Catalogue, not the convoluted Discovery default. Then click on its catalogue entry, and scroll down to the book’s subject listings. If you click on any subject, you will be redirected to a list of books and resources sharing that subject. The subject ‘tag’ works very similarly to a social media hashtag. Just as with social media, clicking the subject hyperlink will help you find all of the items that have been ‘tagged’ with that subject tag.

Do you remember the Kevin Bacon game introduced in our Connect activity for this week’s content? To complete this activity, you are going to build a comparable ‘associative chain’, but this time with books and subjects instead of movies.

Your goal will be to build an ‘associative chain’ between six (6) books of your choice by tracing how they can be connected using the book/subject/book/subject pattern. Can you find connections between six books without repeating a subject, without repeating a book, while staying reasonably close to the spirit of your own research topic? As you ‘hop’ between books and subject, be sure to keep track of the path you have taken, since this is what you will be submitting to complete this activity.

  • Goal: Submit a document that identifies six (6) interesting books and how they are linked by various Subject tags in the McMaster Catalogue.

Troubleshooting Tip: If you face difficulty, and cannot form an associative chain, consider restarting with a different book or following a different path. Persevere as best you can. But don’t be too hard on yourself. If you really face difficulty, simply submit the kind of ‘chain’ you are able to compose, and then write up a supplementary paragraph describing your difficulties.


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