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English -- ENG 110,120,122: Find Articles & Databases

Course Research Guide -- Communication Skills: Writing
Subjects: English

What are Research Databases?

Databases are research tools that help you find articles in journals, magazines, newspapers, or other information sources, such as books and videos.  They focus on a particular type of resource, such as our catalog which contains records for books and DVDs.  Research databases are used to locate journal or newspaper articles. 

Research databases may be subject-specific (e.g. Literature Resource Center) or multidisciplinary (e.g. EBSCO Academic Search Elite). They may include citations, abstracts or full-text from hundreds or thousands of periodicals or journals.

These databases are designed in slightly different ways. You'll need to adapt your search techniques to each database(HELP information and librarians can be very useful). It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the main vendors: EBSCO, ProQuest, and JSTOR right away.

 Note: You may access the overwhelming majority of our databases off-campus. Just provide your network ID  password.  

Core Databases

Literature & Language Databases

I don't know which article is good for my assignment?

You’re in a database like Ebsco and just typed in your keywords or terms.  Once you hit “Submit” and the results come up, you may find results that do not seem to help answer your research question.  If it’s difficult and frustrating to find articles in that long list, remember that you have power to change the initial results by limiting and filtering them in order to get a shorter list of results with more relevant articles. You may also change your search words at any time.  

To avoid spending valuable time reading articles or book chapters that will not be useful for your assignment, take these actions:

  • check off the box for scholarly or peer-reviewed articles if that is what you need
  • put limits on the publication date
  • narrow results by selecting topics you’re interested in using the Subject filter. 

Don’t forget to look  for clues in the citation which contains information such as the article title, journal title, publication date, and subjects, which provide valuable clues about whether or not this resource is relevant. If you locate the title of a promising article or book, read the  abstract or short summary, which gives you a clear idea of whether or not the article or book is on target. 

Research Database Terminology

Full text - immediate access to the entire text of books or articles. Can be either PDF images of the page (useful if you are interested in images or ancillary information such as advertisements that appeared with the text in publication) or HTML text-only.

Abstract - Brief reference to article or book's citation information, plus a brief summary. Sometimes full-text access is available from another Iona-owned database.

Index - Brief reference to article or book's citation information. Like abstracts, sometimes full-text access is available from another Iona-owned database.

Database Search Tips

Here are tips for better search results in databases. This usage works on most databases, but check 'Help' sections or ask a librarian for supported search syntax.

Boolean: (using connectors: and, or, not)
  • mother and father - searches for occurrences of both words within scope defined
  • mother or father - searches for one or all, but both are not required
  • mother not father - searches for occurrences of the word mother without use of the word father
  • (mother not father) and family - searches for occurrences of the word "mother" without the use of the word "father" and then also requires the word "family"
art*  - searches for art, arts, artist, artistic, artistry, artful, etc. 

m?n  - searches for man and men

Find Full Text

Locating the full text of an article:

  • From a database citation, look for a link to "full text" or the Iona icon: Find at Iona
  • Even if full text is not available you will be given further options like checking Google Scholar or requesting the item from Interlibrary Loan