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History: Databases

Google vs. Databases

Tips for Searching Databases

  1. Selecting a Database

The Library’s database page is divided into categories by subject area. There are also categories for general resources and reference. Hover over any database on the library’s webpage to view a description of its contents. In selecting a database, consider what type of information you are hoping to find. Some databases contain scholarly journal articles; others contain films and videos. Some databases provide news sources and reference articles; others contain a variety of information in a variety of formats. Try searching different databases with different content types for the best results.

  1. Using and Combining Keywords

Before you begin searching, brainstorm keywords and combinations of keywords that are related to your topic. Think about which aspects of the topic interest you. For example, if your topic is Climate Change you may be interested in the science behind climate or, you may be more focused on political aspects. You can combine keywords to refine your results and make your searching more effective.

  1. Refining your Results

Most databases have options that allow you to narrow your search results. Some examples to look for include:

        Source type- This can help if you want to          limit your search to academic or peer                reviewed journals.

Publication Date- Chance are, you want the most current information on your topic. Usually, you can select a date range. This helps you weed out old information that is no longer relevant.

Language/Geographic Region-Sometimes your results list can get bogged down with articles published in another country or written in a different language.

  1. Tools and Features

Many databases have tools that can help you organize your research and save your results. Look for tools that allow you to:

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  • Download/Save
  • Cite
  • Export
  • Email