Finding Articles On Your Research: Using Library Databases

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Finding articles on your research topic – using library databases

When looking for articles on your research topic, the most effective tool to use is the library’s databases. These provide you with quality, scholarly articles, appropriate for academic study.

Databases & Journal Finder— which one to use?
There is sometimes confusion over when to use databases and when to use Journal Finder as both are tools for finding articles.
Databases - you use databases when you want to find articles on a topic but don’t have a specific article or journal title in mind. Journal Finder – you use Journal Finder when you already know the article’s citation details. You can then search on Journal Finder by journal title (see pp. 6-8 of this handout).

How to access databases:
For the most important databases for Information Systems, go to the library’s recommended resources page for Information Systems, and click on the database links provided: click the Online Resources (Databases) link under “Popular and Recommended Pages”. When the Online Resources page appears, locate the database you want (under List by Title)—the databases are arranged alphabetically. See Appendix 2 of this handout (pp.21-22) for ideas of databases to explore.

Creating a search strategy
In order to search effectively on databases, you need to:
1. Identify the key concepts in your topic
2. Think of alternative words that have the same meaning as (or are closely related to) your key concepts. These are known as synonyms.
3. Connect your key concepts and alternative words using the Boolean operators AND and OR – explained next page.

Here’s how you find articles on this topic, using the database Science Direct as an example:

Science Direct
Science Direct is a good source for finding quality articles related to IT and information systems. It is easiest to search for articles using the Advanced Search screen so click on the link, circled in red below:

To find articles on your topic, do the following:
Step 1: Start by identifying the key concepts in your topic, namely trust and electronic commerce. Step 2: Now think of closely related concepts for your keywords. For trust, a good alternative might be confidence. For electronic commerce, a good alternative might be online shopping.

Step 3: You now need to connect your key concepts and alternative words, using the AND and OR operators, as shown on the screen (next page). Which operator would you use and when?
Connect your key concepts with AND.
Because you are trying to find articles on trust and how it is cultivated in the e-commerce environment, you need to use the AND operator to connect both concepts. On Science Direct, the AND operator is already provided between each row so enter trust on the first row and electronic commerce on the second row. This instructs the database to search for articles containing both keywords (i.e. trust AND electronic commerce).

Connect your synonyms with OR. We have identified confidence as a closely related term for our keyword trust, and online shopping as a closely related term for our keyword electronic commerce. On Science Direct, place these terms after your respective key concepts and type in the OR operator between each term (see screen, next page). This instructs the database to look for articles on trust which contain either the keywords trust or confidence, in addition to containing the keywords electronic commerce or online shopping.

Step 4: Most databases will contain a Search Tip function (see above) which tells you how to enter search terms correctly. It is a good idea to read this before proceeding with your search, as different databases may have different rules. Adjust your search terms as necessary, noting in particular the