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English : Find Articles & Databases

Literature & Language Databases

Core Databases

How can I tell which article is right 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. 

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 use of the word "father" and then also requires the word
          ‘family’ 


  •  ​Truncation: 

           art* searches for art, arts,artist, artistic, artistry, artful, etc. 

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.

Access to Public Libraries

  • Your own public library system in Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey. etc.