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College Credit Plus @ BGSU: How to search for articles

Resources available through Jerome Library for College Credit Plus students

Vocabulary for this page

*database: a structured set of data held in a computer, especially one that is accessible in various ways.

*search engine: a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web.

All definitions from Oxford Languages

Filter by source type

In Academic Search Complete, you can use a filter on the left hand side of the page to limit by "source types". For example, if you check the box next to "trade publications" the results list will contain only articles published in trade journals/magazines.

How to talk to databases

Databases are more structured than internet search engines, so they require an intentional search strategy.

  • In a search engine, your search terms can match words in the full text or the entire web site.
  • In a database, your search terms need to match words in the data that describe the article such as the article title, the journal title, and the abstract (overview) of the article, not necessarily the full text.

Thus, we recommend that you:

  • carefully select the key concepts from your research question and combine those as keywords to search in a database
  • use the worksheet labeled 'generating and combining keywords' below to brainstorm search terms

Which database should I use?

Academic Search Complete is a great starting place to look for sources because a variety of subject areas are included within it.

Many databases are specialized, meaning that they contain information about a specific subject area. For example, there are psychology databases that contain sources written by and for psychologists and psychology students.