HOW TO SELECT A DATABASE TO FIND ARTICLES

Articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers can be obtained by using the Library's online database systems. Gutman Library subscribes to several systems. Selecting appropriate databases can be daunting when presented with the many choices available. Here are some tips:

Before you choose a database, decide how you will approach your topic. 
Information in online databases is often organized according to:

  • the subject, or discipline -- Business, Anthropology, Architecture, etc.
  • the type of publication -- newspapers, trade publications, scholarly journals
  • a combination of both of these methods of organization

A Little Knowledge Can Save a Lot of Time
The more you know about the different databases, the better selections you will make.
Another approach is to combine your database knowledge with your knowledge of your research topic.

 

Basic Database Selection Questions:

Ask yourself what type of resource is more likely to have the information you need:

  1. a newspaper?
  2. a scholarly journal? 
  3. a specific company's annual report?

Deciding the most likely source will help determine which database to use.
Different databases are composed of information from different types of sources.

Ask yourself if the database you select provides full-text, or only citations and /or abstracts:

  1. if the database you need to use does not have full-text,  you need to allow yourself extra research time to locate the full-text of the articles
  2. do you know how to place an Interlibrary Loan request? Ask librarians for help.

Understand the scope of the database you select. Ask yourself:

  1. does this database cover the subject area (discipline) I really need, or is there a better, more focused database?
  2. does this database provide indexing for the date range I need?
  3. Will this database point me to or provide the full-text for articles written during the time period that is appropriate for my research need? 

Although retrospective materials are sometimes added to databases, the actual article you need might not be available electronically, because it is too old.

Ask yourself if there are special advanced features that can improve your search results or make searching easier:

  1. does this database allow me to limit my search to a specific date range, or to a particular magazine or journal?
  2. does this database allow me to email, download, or export articles to RefWorks?
  3. are there features that can help me to generate better search terms, like the Thesaurus feature or the "Browse Subject Headings" features in some EBSCO databases?


Database Selection  Menu

  • On Campus: Click here to see a instructions for connecting.
    Off-Campus: Click here to see instructions for connecting.

These are the points being illustrated:
If you know the NAME of the database you want, use the selection menu on the library homepage.  It's the box in the center of the library homepage that reads "Article Search--Select a Database from A-Z List."

If you are not sure which databases you might need, click on the Research Guides link at the top of the left frame of this page. Databases are arranged according to Schools and Programs: click on the School or Program that the assignment you are working on is for, and you will be provided with more information about what is available.

 

  Return to Research Guide Start Page