Skip to main content

RESEARCH GUIDES

History

Why Use Databases?

Databases are your gateway to articles published in various periodicals, such as academic  journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Because journals are often published multiple times per year, they contain very recent research and are particularly useful when researching trending topics, or topics that change frequently.

Essential Databases

Accessing Databases

To access all databases, click the Find Resources link in the top banner, and then scroll down to and select Databases & Web Resources. If you know the title of the database you're looking for, you can scroll down the list or click a letter to jump to all databases beginning with that letter.

If you don't know the database you're looking for, you can search through database titles and descriptions using the search box on the right, or use the Subjects dropdown box to see only those databases most closely related to your area of study.

Searching Databases

When performing a keyword search, you'll be looking for a match of a specific word (or set of words) that appear somewhere in the item record (e.g. title, subject fields, abstract, table of contents). The keywords you choose directly influence the results you get back. Your terms can be connected using AND, OR, or NOT. Librarians call these Boolean operators

AND

OR

NOT

Finds articles where both keywords are present.

Example: vikings AND britain

Finds articles where either keyword is present.

Example: england OR britain

Excludes a keyword from the results list.

Example: britain NOT scotland

 

Note: For a more information on Boolean operators, see our Search Strategies - Best Practices page.


Expand your search using synonyms and related terms

One of the limitations to keyword searching is that it requires an exact match of the word(s) you're searching. To get around this, think of synonyms, related terminology, and/or variants of your search term and link all of those together with the Boolean OR.

If you're researching, for example, the role women played in the French Resistance during Nazi occupation, then a possible search statement could look like (note the use of parentheses to group the terms connected by OR):

(women OR woman OR female OR gender) AND (france OR french) AND resistance AND (world war II OR world war 2 OR world war, 1939-1945 OR vichy)

Note: You may manually type AND, OR, & NOT in a single search box, or you may separate your terms using multiple text boxes with drop menus to clarify your operator, as seen in the example below.  When using a single search box, place the related terms you're connecting within parentheses. When using multiple search boxes, treat each box as a set of parentheses. Capitalization of your operators is recommended for visual clarity, but not required.

 

 

What are subject headings?

Similar to how books in the library catalog have subject fields attached to the item record (see the Finding Books section of this guide), articles in databases also have a set of specific, controlled set of terms used to describe its content. By searching using one of these subject terms, you can quickly find all articles in the database relevant to that topic.

Locating subject headings in databases

Databases typically make their list of subject terms available and searchable. Look for links or dropdown menus that let you browse through subject headings (might also be called a Thesaurus, Subject Terms, or simply Subjects). See the below example from JSTOR.


Broader, Narrower, and Related Terms

After you find a relevant subject heading for your research, databases often suggest broader, narrower, or other related terms that may be helpful for your research. Below is the result list when searching "Roman Empire" in the subject index in the GALE World History database.


Finding subject headings through item records

Having trouble finding the right subject headings for your research? Try performing a keyword search and, from the results list, view the detailed record of a promising article and see what subject headings have been assigned to it. Click on one of the subject headings to find all articles that have been assigned that specific subject heading. From there, you can search through these results by adding keywords to the available search boxes. See a sample detailed item record below from the EBSCO database America: History & Life.

What Are Limiters?

Most databases allows you to limit your search results using a variety of criteria. We call these tools limiters. Common limiters include Full Text, Peer Reviewed, Publication Date, Publication Type, and Language. Please note that available limiters varies depending on the database.


Full Text

STOP!!! Do NOT use the Full Text limiter! This prevents you from finding relevant articles that may be available in one of our other database subscriptions. If a PDF or HTML link to the full text of an article isn't available, use the  link to see if the article is available in another database. If full text isn't available in any of our databases, you can always request the item through interlibrary loan (see the Interlibrary Loan box on this page for more information).

Peer Reviewed

Most databases allow you to limit your results to only articles from peer-reviewed journals. Look for a check box on the search page or on a side column on the results page.

Publication Date

Depending on your research topic, you may want to limit your article results to a specific date range. This can be in the form of a free text box, dropdown menu, or a slider as seen in the example below from an EBSCO database.

Publication Type

Limiting by the publication/source type is helpful when you're looking for (or want to eliminate) certain types of publications, such as academic journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.

 

Language

The language limiter is a quick way to eliminate articles written in languages that you can't read.

 

Loading

Journals vs. Magazines

Popular Magazines
  • Appearance: Eye-catching covers, glossy pages, color illustrations
  • Audience: General public
  • Content: News and general interest articles
  • Accountability: Editorial review; no article bibliographies
  • Advertisements: Yes

Examples: Time, People, New Yorker, Rolling Stone

Trade Magazines
  • Appearance: Glossy pages; color illustrations
  • Audience: Members of a specific industry, business, or organization
  • Content: Industry news, trends, and new products and techniques
  • Accountability: Editorial review; some article may include a short bibliography
  • Advertisements: Mostly trade-specific

Examples: American Cinematographer, PC World, Psychology Today

Academic Journals
  • Appearance: Plain covers; black and white graphics
  • Audience: Professionals and researchers
  • Content: Articles written by experts in their respective field, relating their research, methodology, and theories
  • Accountability: Peer-review; articles have bibliographies
  • Advertisements: Articles include a bibliography and go through a peer-review process where other experts examine it for accuracy and academic merit before it is accepted and published

Examples: American Antiquity, The American Historical Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature

Looking for a Specific Journal?

Already know the title of a specific journal and want to see if it is available at Daemen (either in print or electronically through a database)? Click on the Find Resources at the top of the page and scroll down to and click on the Journals link. From here, you can search for a publication by name or ISSN.