For your Research
Follow these steps to find a journal article from the library's home page:
2) There you will find a list on the left hand side of all the different subjects that there are associated articles for. By clicking your subject, you will be directed to the page that lists all the relevant databases for your subject area.
3) Click on one of the databases (you may be prompted to log-in if you are off-campus). Locate the search boxes once you are in the database and type in your search strategy.
4) Check the box that says "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed". This will ensure that you receive articles from reputable, academic journals and not popular magazines or newspapers. "Scholarly" means the articles are written by experts in their field and "peer-reviewed" means the articles were reviewed by other experts (or the author's "peers"). Then click on "search".
5) The database will give you a results list. Use the limiters on the left or right hand side to narrow it down by date and by subject. You will receive more relevant articles that way.
What is Subject Searching?
Subject searches are conducted using specific words called subject headings (also known as subject terms or thesaurus terms). A subject heading is a word or short phrase that is used to describe a specific concept.
For example the subject heading “racism” describes the concept of “…overt discriminatory behavior directed against racial or ethnic groups”. Says who? The Library of Congress, for one, has developed its own set of subject headings. This particular definition comes from the Library of Congress Subject Headings. Other organizations have their own set of subject headings. For example, the abbreviation MeSH stands for medical subject headings.
Since most works have subject headings assigned to them, you can use those subject headings as search words. But how are you supposed to know what the subject headings are? How would you know to use the word “racism” and not the word “prejudice”? The Library of Congress publishes several large volumes of subject headings. Using one of those volumes, you would look up racism under the R’s. Once you get to the entry for racism, the book will tell you if racism is the correct subject heading to use of if you should use different word or phrase. Most databases have an online compilation of subject headings. For example, in the Academic Search Premier database, you would click on the "Subject Terms" link. In the MEDLINE database, you would click on the "MeSH" link. In the PsycARTICLES database, you would click on the "Thesaurus" link.
Need to find other resources
Check out these printable guides: