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Where Do I Search?
A good starting point for academic work is one or more of the many databases available through the library's Databases A-Z list and through links on the subject and course research guides. Databases provide access and content to sources that are generally not available on the open web through a general search engine like Google.
Every database contains only certain types and amounts of information. Which one you choose depends almost entirely on the context of your research project. There is no single database or web search interface that will work for every research context; instead, you'll need to match your specific research needs to a variety of options.
Multidisciplinary databases cover a wide variety of subject areas and may include a mix of popular and scholarly sources. They are good resources when you begin your research. Academic Search Premier is an example of a multidisciplinary database.
Subject databases cover a specific discipline and provide the widest range of access to scholarly sources. They are used for in-depth research. Communication & Mass Media Complete is an example of a subject database. Which subject databases you search will be determined by who may be writing about your topic.
These subject databases may be especially useful for your research projects for this class.
Gender Studies Database
Covers the full spectrum of gender-engaged scholarship inside and outside academia. Several thousand links to freely available and indexed full-text articles and documents on the Internet are available. Source documents include professional journals, conference papers, books, book chapters, government reports, discussion and working papers, theses & dissertations and other sources.
Indexes articles, books, book chapters, and dissertations on all aspects of world history from 1450 to the present. Does not include United States and Canadian history, which is covered in America: History and Life.
History of Science, Technology and Medicine (HSTM)
An international bibliography for the history of science, technology, and medicine and their influence on culture, from pre-history to the present. Includes records of journal articles, conference proceedings, books, dissertations, serials, maps and other materials.
MLA International Bibliography
The key database for identifying scholarly books, essays, articles, and dissertations on modern literature in all languages. Also covers cultural studies, folklore, film studies, and linguistics.
Covers scholarly research in all major fields of philosophy. It contains research published since 1940 including journals from many countries with content representing a variety of languages.
Political Science Complete
Provides full text, and indexing and abstracts, for many journal titles with a worldwide focus reflecting the globalization of contemporary political discourse. The database also features full-text reference books and monographs, and full-text conference papers, including those of the International Political Science Association.
Abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.
America: History & Life
Indexes articles, books, essays in books, and dissertations on the history and culture of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.
Tipasa: Interlibrary Loan
If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option to getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.
Tipasa is linked to your library account so you'll need to log in to use it.
Once you are logged in, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form, like this:
Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived. If it's delivered in paper, you'll receive it right in your campus mailbox.
Don't forget to prepare a list of related terms and concepts BEFORE you begin searching! This will save you time and give you a sense of direction as you search.
Number 1 Search Tip
Use Advanced Search and limit features whenever possible. Subset limits, date limits, citation searches, subject searches, etc. -- are all useful timesavers.
More Search Tips:
- Start with a general search.
- Avoid long phrases.
- When given a choice, go with advanced search.
- Use AND to find all the words (distinct concepts) on your topic.
- Use OR to find any of the words (synonyms or related concepts) on your topic.
- The symbol * is used as a right hand truncation character in most databases; it will find all forms of a word.
- Use limiters to focus your search by date, full text, peer reviewed articles, etc.
- Be flexible in your searching.
Too MUCH Information?
- Use more specific words.
- Narrow your search by adding more words connecting them with AND.
- Do a subject search instead of a keyword search.
- Put phrases in quotation marks.
Too LITTLE Information?
- Try different search words, including synonyms, broader terms, or related words.
- Use the truncation symbol * to get all forms of a word.
- Try a different database.
Here is an example in action: