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Econ211: Research Methods in Economics 2020: Articles

Article Databases: Economics

Article Databases: General Interest

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 assume you meant to put an AND between the words. (a few databases may assume you want to search for the phrase "doctors patients communication").

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.

Your Librarian

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Luke Vilelle
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