Each database contains a unique aggregate of sources (though, a specific source may appear in several databases). Some databases contain scholarly articles, some magazine literature, some news. Some contain it all. Article databases often include more than articles (chapters in books, etc.)
A few more things you should know about article databases...
- results identify where articles were published (name of publication and any associated volume/issue/date info.) - results do not equal what UCB owns - sometimes results link to article content online - Use UC-eLinks feature when a full text option is not provided
Where is the article?
Many library databases incorporate the UC-eLinks feature. You use it when a result's text is not provided by the database searched. It checks the UC-wide collections to see if the source is available elsewhere...
Encyclopedias are often a good place to begin when you don't know much about a topic. They provide basic background information -- identify people, events, issues, etc., associated with a topic. Knowing this information will help you search for materials on that topic. Entries often have an associated bibliography that identifies related materials.
For online encyclopedias...
navigate to library electronic resources (reviewed in article databases & other electronic resources section of this tab)
then link to your chosen Subject and use the sidebar menu to access encyclopedias for that subject (many disciplines have linkable subject specific encyclopedias)
Alternatively, link to library electronic resources byType > Encyclopedias and almanacs to see all of these resources
This free encyclopedia is publicly editable and not a scholarly resource. Because anyone can write or add to an entry, the information may be innacurate or untrue. Through the very structure of its creation, it has dependability issues. Yet, it can still be a useful tool, if used wisely.
Like other encyclopedias, it can be helpful in obtaining topical background, and entries often list sources for further reading (which you can then see if UCB has in its collections). Use Wikipedia as a starting point for information you will verify in the course of your research via scholarlysources.
Scholarly or popular ?
Some databases contain popular as well as scholarly content. Depending on your needs, you may want to limit results to just scholarly content. You can...
choose a resource that only contains it
if using a resource with mixed content, limit to the scholarly material
This course guide is created as a teaching tool and designed to be read as a unit. Doing so will provide the context for selecting the "right" resource and the techniques for manipulating it -- knowledge and skills that will support immediate and future research needs.
The notes in this tab contain suggestions about how to proceed with research based on your assignment. These suggestions build upon, and presume familiarity with, the general concepts addressed in the other tabbed sections of this course guide.
A research trajectory
Decide text/film/topic you are interested in writing about.
Review the suggested resources section, below.
Select a resource whose content matches the kind of materials you are seeking to find and whose disciplinary focus maps to your topic (meaning that publications in that discipline are likely to be writing about it). Or...choose an interdisciplinary database.
Search isolated resources (search tips below) to see what others have written on your topic, or what others are writing about that might suggest further topical refinement.
Isolate promising database results to examine closely.
Good practice: as you go, note any information you may need if you end up citing your findings.
find books on your topic
find the periodicals you've already identified as having articles on your topic
Article databases (by SUBJECT)
identify article and essay content on your topic
identify current research
identify research focused on specific aspects of a topic
search for publications from a specific discipline
literature, psychology, womens studies, film studies, history, etc.
MLA is a recommended database for literary|film criticism
citation database / no full text
use UC-eLinks to locate result text
Article databases (GENERAL)
often have popular sources (magazine & news) as well scholarly
Academic Search Complete is one recommended resource
mix of popular and scholarly content
some results available online
has UC-eLinks feature
JSTOR is one recommended database
full text resource
use advanced search mode (to narrow to specific discipline)
Google Scholar is one recommended resource
strength is scholarly journal literature
Use UC-eLinks to get full text
Enable UC-eLinks to display (via Scholar Preferences > Library links)
Encyclopedias (subject encyclopedias)
backgroundon topic | biographical information on practitioner in field
Link path = Library homepage > Electronic Resources > Subject > then review the left sidebar menu to see if there is a link to encyclopedias
...Literature > encyclopedias > Literature Resource Center
good for brief biography of literary authors
Use Person Search (results in tabs - see biographies)
A few search tips
Recommended Tips for searching databases (also consider limiting by language)
Catalog searching (for books about a topic)
search 2 or 3 terms representing key concepts of your focus
try different combinations of term, synonyms, related terms
look at the record for a relevant result -- do its subjects suggest other search terms
try adding the term criticism to your search, to locate literary analysis
try adding terms for specific types of materials: encyclopedias, biographies...
Sample keyword searches... transgender gender identity queer communities gays and social conditions and united states islam and homosex* winterson and criticism barbin and biography gender and encyclo*
Limit by language - use modify search button
Limit by material type - change default search of Entire Collection to seach by type or location -- i.e. Films/Videos
If your search is too broad - use Modify button for available limits