Using Databases to Find Journal Articles

James A. Gibson Library

Using Databases to Find Journal Articles

 When you get to the search screen of a database, DON'T enter your topic as a phrase or sentence --
just pick out the most prominent and critical words. If you are studying Irish immigrants in Canada, your search might look like this:

Canada AND immigra* AND (Irish OR Ireland)


- put AND between words
- using AND will give you fewer records, not more, because it requires the database to find only records that contain ALL of the words you enter
- put OR between words if you would like to find either one OR the other in the records the database retrieves for you - in many databases the * can be used to find variations of words
- immigra* will search for immigrate, immigrant, immigrants, etc.

To Search

  • On the library's home page, under RESEARCH click on 'Databases'.
  • Click on a subject area you are interesting in to get a list of relevant databases OR click on a letter of the alphabet to select a database by title.
  • READ the database descriptions so that you can select one that is appropriate.
  • Click on the title of the database to open it.
  • Look at search tips the database provides and enter your search terms.
  • Find suitable records. If there are no suitable records, try searching with similar or related terms. Try other databases too.
  • If you are in a full text database, there may be an icon or link leading to the full text.
  • You can click on it to retrieve the full text of suitable records. These articles can usually be printed or e-mailed.
  • If you are not in a full text database or do not see an icon or link that indicates that the full text is available (which means that the complete articles will not be available online), copy or print the article's title, source [journal title], author, volume, issue, page numbers, and date of publication.
  • You must check whether or not Brock has the journal you need if the full text is not in the database.  There might be a link that says "Locate Document" or "Get It".  If there isn't, you can check in the library catalogue
  • Click on "Journal Title" and enter the title of the journal (not the individual article!) you seek.  Remember that this information is listed in the database record you found.
  • If the journal is listed in our catalogue, look at the line that says 'Lib. has' to see if we have the volume you need.  Remember that the volume number is listed in the database record you found.
  • If the library has the volume you need, copy down the CALL NUMBER of the journal and go upstairs to find it.  When you get there, select the volume number you need and check the appropriate pages.