What are Databases?
Databases are used to search for articles on almost any topic imaginable. The Library subscribes to databases that index many kinds of publications -- from scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals to newspapers to popular magazines.
All databases will include citation information for the articles they index, and many will have abstracts, or short summaries of what the article is about. Some will include the full text of the article. If a particular database desn't have the full text available, you should see a link that says "Get It!" Click this link (often a green icon) to see if the library gets the article from another source.
- Think of possible search terms. What are the main components of your topic? Break it down into keywords.
- Use the connectors AND, OR, and NOT. Called "boolean operators," use AND to narrow a search, OR to expand it.
- Do a preliminary search. Look at some articles to the topic, see what keywords the database uses to describe the article. Think about adding those keywords to your search.
- Trial and error. Searching often takes trials of several combinations of terms. As above, use the subject terms of relevant articles. If your search yields too many results, combine with other search terms with AND. If too few results, try broadening the search, linking like terms together with OR.