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Article and Database Searching

Introduction

Databases often focus on a particular subject. This means that, as long as you are using an appropriate database, you will find more material on your topic and less irrelevant information. But how do you select the best database? Here are some tips.

Lists of Databases

To reach the list of databases from the Libraries' home page, select “Find Databases” in the Quick Links, or select the "Databases" link under "Research" in the top navigation menu.

The names of the databases will appear, listed in alphabetical order. However you probably don't want to search all 300 of them! Fortunately, it's possible to filter the databases by subject.

Just getting started with a general search? Try one of the more popular databases in the right-hand menu. These have been selected by librarians for the scope and quality of their content across subjects.

Use the drop-down menu to choose the subject area you want — for instance, accounting, education, or neuroscience. Or you could choose a type of source, such as encyclopedias or newspapers. This will narrow down the list of databases.

Choosing a database

When choosing databases to use for your research, there are several factors to consider:

  • the academic subjects covered
  • the types of materials included (e.g. scholarly journal articles, professional reports, images of works of art, encyclopedia articles, popular magazine articles)
  • the availability of full text of articles
  • date range of materials covered

The Databases page will provide you with all this information.

Beneath the name of each database, you will find information about the database, including:

  • A brief description of the scope and purpose of the database
  • Publication dates of the articles included
  • Types of sources contained
  • Whether it is a full-text database

You may also find useful database recommendations in the subject guide for your discipline.

If you have a general topic, and aren't sure where to search, it is often a good idea to start in Academic Search Complete, because that is a general database with some information on almost every topic. If you are looking for newspaper articles, you should try LexisNexis.

Choosing the right database is one of the most important parts of the research process. It can be difficult when you aren't familiar with all the databases, so don't feel shy about asking a librarian for help.