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UWP101 (Pearsall)  

Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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What is Scholarly?

Tips for Database Searching

1. Limits: To focus your search, utilize database features that allow you to specify criteria such as date, language and publication type, e.g. peer reviewed journals

2. Sort Order: Note how your search results are organized - many databases sort by date (most recent articles appear first) rather than relevance

3. Subject Terms: Pay attention to the subject terms because they can lead to other relevant articles on your topic

4. Get an Article: If the full article is not available, use uc-ellinks

5. Not Satisfied? If you are not finding relevant results about your topic, try different combinations of search terms, or select another database to search


    Search Strategy #1

    If you are unfamiliar with the scholarly journals in your discipline, one strategy for identifying influential titles is to browse a tool called Journal Citation Reports. This database assigns impact factors to journals. As a general rule, the higher the impact factor, the more prestigious the journal.


    If you are off campus, make sure you log into the VPN first!

    • Journal Citation Reports (JCR)  
      Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is an annual publication with each yearly data analysis being completed in the summer of the following year. JCR indicates: most frequently cited journals in a field, highest impact journals in a field, and largest journals in a field. JCR Science Edition contains data from over 7,300 journals in science and technology. JCR Social Sciences Edition contains data from over 2,200 journals in the social sciences.

    • Electronic Journals A-Z
      If you identify a journal in Journal Citation Reports and would like to see if the library carries an online subscription to it, search the Electronic Journals list by the full journal name.

    Search Strategy #2

    Use the Subject Guides to identify relevant article databases in your discipline. Searching a database allows you to view citations to articles published in hundreds of different journals. Some databases include information from conference proceedings and other publication types as well.


    If you are off campus, make sure you log into the VPN first!


      Use the Subject Guides to identify search tools in your discipline.

    • Full-Text Journal Collections
      Select from scholarly resource collections covering a variety of disciplines.
    • Web of Science  Icon
      Search for article citations on a wide range of topics from journals in the sciences, social sciences and humanities

    Search Strategy #3

    Another tool that may help lead you to discipline-specific magazine articles, blogs, reports and other types of information sources published by professional associations in your area is called the Occupational Outlook Handbook, from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.


    1. Search the Occupational Outlook Handbook by job title, e.g. civil engineer, microbiologist, economist, psychologist

    2.  Select the appropriate link from your search results to view details about your occupation

    3. Navigate to the More Info tab for a listing of professional associations and resources

    4. Explore the sites listed for additional sources you can use for your discourse analysis, e.g. American Society for Microbiology, American Society for Cell Biology


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