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HIST270S: Making Revolution (2016): Sec Sources: Articles

Article Databases

The key to successfully using Historical Abstracts is using the Advanced Search and limiting your results by historical era. For example, you can designate that you're only looking for items about the period between 1800 and 1900.

Article Databases: General Interest

Mine the bibliographies!

What sources did they use to write their articles/books? Are any of those sources available to you?

Look at the article attached below: what primary sources did the author use? would those sources be available to you? Could you read those sources?

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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MSIS, Information Science
The University of Texas at Austin
BA, History
Southwestern University