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Literature searching with databases

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Jason Harper

on 13 November 2013

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Transcript of Literature searching with databases

Literature searching with databases
Literature searching with databases
Researcher Skills Programme
IS Library / Graduate School
The session will cover
planning a search
database sources
searching effectively
getting material
1. What do you need?
2. Where will you look?
3. How will you find it?
4. Get the material
Identify the type and level of information you need
Decide which resource to start with
Plan your search strategy - use the databases effectively
Didn't find it?
try again with a different search
try again in a different resource
Access the full-text, keep the reference details
Reference or introductory material?
Books, reviews or critical analysis?
Articles and original research?
Reports or official documents?
Primary sources (e.g. manuscripts, letters, etc.)
Data or multimedia?
What are "databases" and what do they cover?
Indexes to publications
The databases looked at today, are searchable, online indexes (or "catalogues") of
Databases may index
Level of information required?
Is a database the right tool?
General material
Specific subjects or related disciplines
Types of material
More specialised sources exist for other materials
publication details
Do you need introductory material to fill in your understanding?
Are you looking for further material to expand the points in your argument or illustrate related theories so that you can comment on them?
Do you want to go back to the original source, research, or data, and interpret it for yourself?
"bibliographic databases"
"indexing and abstracting databases"
"citation indexes"
"journal indexes"
databases contain references, abstracts and other details for published literature
Publications across multiple subject areas, or covering a variety of sources
Tools for searching the literature for a particular discipline (e.g. law) or cognate area (e.g. applied social science)
Articles (journal or conference papers)
Books and chapter information
Official publications
All of the above ...
Places to start
Begin with the most relevant database
Explore other options after that
Subject guides
Your subject guide will suggest relevant resources for you to search
General databases
Web of Science (Web of Knowldge)
GoogleScholar (use the “Advanced Search” for more control)
Specific databases
Databases for related or specific disciplines:
Other resources
Other options can be found on the page
Reference and introductory material
Critical and overview sources
Primary or original materials
Identify key concepts
Think of keywords to describe them
Search strategies
Access to millions of articles across thousands of journal titles, spanning multiple subjects
and other sources
Structured searching
Keyword searching, and:
structured headings
construct complex searches
filters and search limiters
output results
save searches
Citations & abstracts
Identify relevant studies, make decisions about:
what to keep or reject
help find related material
Links out to online, full-text items where available
Details of newly published research added regularly
new journal issues
other publications
Full-text and paper trails
Define your topic
Define your topic
Identify main concepts
social class
Related keywords and phrases
How else might you describe “underage” or “drinking”?
Search "operators"
Truncation *
Quotation marks for exact phrases “ ”
Search for each concept
With complex searches, look for each concept as a separate search. Use the search "history" in the database to combine these "sets" into a final result
Filter results
Databases offer the facility to limit and filter your final search results. Consider limiting by ...
Saving search histories
Most databases have a search tool. Use this to combine, keep and manage searches
Social class, exclusion, and the prevalence of underage drinking
? ... I need to find some literature and research on underage drinking ...
Sometimes it helps to turn it into a question
Is there a link between social class, inequality, and underage drinking?
a OR b
a AND b
b NOT a
Truncation - *
underage drinking
Encylopaedias and dictionaries
Basic and general textbooks (“Introduction to…”, “Companion to…” or “Handbook of…”)
Texts that examine specific topics in detail (academic texts, critical “readers”, etc.)
Journal articles that offer a “review” (or overview) of a topic
Sources that analyse and synthesise primary sources (some reports and journal articles)
Research reports, working papers, conference proceedings and journal articles which publish the first, or early, findings of research (e.g. empirical research articles)
Data (e.g. qualitative or quantitative findings from surveys and studies)
Library catalogues
Online resources
Library catalogues (texts)
Databases (articles/reports)
OA repositories
Specialised sources
Jason Harper
Library homepage >> Subject guides >>
[your School / subject]
Library homepage >> Resources >>
Databases >> [a-z]
GoogleScholar also indexes details of books, book chapters, reports and grey literature
For more specialist sources (e.g. news, multimedia, data, statistics, full-text subject collections, etc., see the other suggestions in the section
Library homepage >> Resources >>
Look at the “Times Cited” and “Cited References” (bibliography)
Look at the abstracts: pick out other keywords, phrases, subject terms to use
Search for key author names
If you sniff out a good reference ...
Create an account
create search alerts
Save your searches, run them again,
Referencing and paper trails
Export references…
Keep references for your bibliography
1. Create an account 2. Install Write-N-Cite
3. Log into Refworks
Use a particular syntax:
underage AND alcohol*

“social exclusion” OR inequalit*
Social class/exclusion is being looked at, but implicit in any examination is the role of other factors, e.g.
behavioural problems, abuse, peer networks, parental attitudes, etc.
Databases for specific formats:
Social sciences - e.g. IBSS, PsycINFO, Lexis or Westlaw
Humanties - e.g. Literature Resource Centre, RILM, Film Indexes Online
Sciences - e.g. Pubmed, IEEE
EBSCOHost - select from a range of different subject databases
ProQuest - ditto
News - e.g. Nexis
Official publications - e.g. Public Information Online
Theses - e.g. Ethos or ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text
"social class" OR "social exclusion" OR inequalit*
child* OR underage* OR teen* OR adolescen*
drink* OR alcohol*
1 AND 2 AND 3
Break broad subjects up into multiple, smaller searches, focusing on a part of the topic or issue. Use the search history to manage these
Quality (peer review?)
Language (english?)
Subject terms
"Source" (preferred journal titles?)
Document (article?) or type of study (methodology?)
Keywords in "title" field ... ?
What about available online full-text ... ?
.pdfs and links to full-text
Where else can I get it from?
The database may contain the full-text directly - either as a downloadable .pdf document, or in html format displayed on the screen
No online full-text?
... will tell you if a print version is available in the Library
Alternatively ...
Look for the button

... or click on the link that says
UoK Full Text access
Otherwise ...
check the Library catalogue (book or report references
Request ...
the item via document delivery (use the tab in the Library Catalogue, login and submit the form)
Other libraries ...
the SCONUL access scheme allows you to join other UK University libraries, or become a British Library reader
Exercise 1
Think of a topic for your search
Identify the main concepts
Think of keywords to describe each concept
Exercise 2
Find a database
Log into EBSCOHost - select a database covering your subject and "continue" to the search screen
Exercise 3
Search for keywords related to your first concept
Try to structure a search that will find all the citations related to the first concept in your topic
Exercise 4
Search for your other concepts separately
Repeat this step, doing separate searches for each of your concepts
Exercise 5
Refine your search by filtering the results
Exercise 6
Look at the full-text - email citations to yourself
Library homepage >> Resources >> Databases >> E >> EBSCOHost select database
How might you describe each concept?
What phrases, keywords or synonyms would be relevant?
If EBSCOHost doesn't cover your subjects, what would you do?
What "operator" will you use to find related keywords?
How do you find alternative endings for keywords?
What "operator" will you use to combine the search sets together in your history?
Clear the 1st search
Combine the "sets" using the history
Can you edit searches?
View the results
Apply criteria to limit the number of references
Can you restrict the results just to "peer reviewed" journal literature?
What would you do if the full-text wasn't available online?
Look at .pdfs and the 360 Link to full-text
Add items to the "folder" - view the folder and select "email"
Search History
Web of Knowledge
Search tips: https://www.brainshark.com/thomsonscientific/searchtipswok5_v2
Search histories and alerts: https://www.brainshark.com/thomsonscientific/histories
Managing search results: https://www.brainshark.com/thomsonscientific/markedlist_wok_5_3
Searching SCOPUS: http://trainingdesk.elsevier.com/videos/scopus-searching-scopus-content
Full transcript