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History Resource Guide

Databases: Find Research Articles, Videos, & E-books

Quick Link: Research Databases

Tips for Selecting & Searching Databases 

Determine what types of sources (journal articles, magazine articles, newspapers articles, books, etc.) you need for your assignment. Different databases contain different items. Knowing what you need will help you choose an appropriate database.
Our databases are organized by general subject. Also consider if your topic falls under more than one subject area. For example, research on the effects of Ritalin on the academic performance of students might fall under either "Education," or "Health and Medicine."

Boolean Operators: AND | OR | NOT - Combine these operators to improve your search results.

AND and NOT narrow your results, while OR expands your results. Examples:

  • Therapy AND gait = articles about both "therapy" and "gait."
  • Dementia OR memory = articles that are related to "dementia" and "memory". but not necessarily both in the same article. OR is often used between two words that have the same meaning.
  • Dementia NOT Alzheimer's will remove articles related to Alzheimer's from your results list.

Combine these terms to create more complex searches. Example:

  • (therapy AND (dementia OR "memory")) NOT Alzheimer's

Phrase Searching: Put quotations around multiple words to search them as a single phrase. Example:

  • "therapy for dementia"

Truncation: In many databases, you can use * at the end of a word to search for multiple forms of the word. Example:

  • thera* = therabolin, therapeutic, therapeutically, therapeutics, therapist, therapy, therapies

For more information on database powersearching, take a look at our Database Powersearching video.

Find out if the database you're using has a "subject search" option. For some topics, subject searching works better than keyword searching. Use the results of a keyword search to discover subject headings (descriptors) used in the database.