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Hist480: Senior Thesis: Articles

Article Databases

Article Databases: General Interest

Article Databases: Around the Disciplines

Thinking about a topic related to:

Searching Tips & Tricks

1. Use subject headings!

2. Take advantage of any “times cited” or “cited by” features (available most prominently in Google Scholar, EBSCO and JSTOR). 

3. If I search for DOCTORS PATIENTS COMMUNICATION, what does the database search for?

  • Most will search for both the plural and singular forms of the word. (The library catalog and WorldCat will NOT do this).
  • Most will search for your terms as a phrase, though some will assume you meant to put an AND between the words. (For example, all EBSCO databases will search for a phrase; the library catalog will put an AND between each word.)

4. To search for a phrase, put quotation marks around the phrase: “doctor-patient communication.” (this applies in every database I’m aware of).

5. To search for synonyms, combine them with an OR.

  • (doctors or physicians) and patients and (communication or discussions)

6. To expand your search, use wildcards or truncation figures.

  • An asterisk frequently is used to represent multiple characters: comput* will retrieve computers, computing, etc.
  • A question mark is frequently used to represent a single character. Wom?n will retrieve women and  woman (though many databases will automatically search for both now). 

 7. When searching full text (in a database such as JSTOR or LexisNexis), use proximity search operators (sometimes called search connectors).

  •   JSTOR: "doctor patient"~10 : Requires that the words be within 10 words of each other)
  • Lexis-Nexis: doctor w/10 patient : Requires that the words be within 10 words of each other.
  •  Doctor w/s patient : Requires that the words be in the same sentence.
  •  Doctor w/p patient : Requires that the words be in the same paragraph.

 8. Examples of other interesting search functionality (usually available by looking at the Help pages):

  • In LexisNexis: “length>500” : the article must be greater than 500 words.
  • In JSTOR: Doctors patients communication^7 : The word communication is 7 times more important than the words doctors and patients. Rank these results by relevance accordingly.

Subject Guide

Rebecca Seipp's picture
Rebecca Seipp
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Contact:
seipprl@hollins.edu
MSIS, Information Science
The University of Texas at Austin
BA, History
Southwestern University
540.362.6328