Secrets of My Research Success:
Database Searching

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Mike:

Good choice, Quentin. ABI/Inform Complete and Business Source Complete are two of the most recommended databases. Databases vary by year of coverage. So if you need current information, make sure you check the years that are included by mousing over the “i” icon.

For example, let's start with Business Source Complete. From reading the information, we know that it covers many subject areas related to business. It also includes many full-text articles.

Quentin:

Yeah, that does sound like it 'll work well for my topic. So, I just click on the database name to enter the database?

Mike:

Yes, but you will need to login by entering your last name and either EMPLID or barcode number.

Quentin:

Alright, I'm in. So now I will just type in my search statement into the search box and see what comes up…

("corporat* takeover*" OR merg* OR acqui*) AND (effect* OR consequence* OR impact* OR result*) AND (employee* OR work*)

Um, I'm not sure this worked out the way it was supposed to. I've gotten so many articles that I'll never be able to go through all of them! What did I do wrong?

Mike:

You got such a large number of articles because this is a very broad topic. You can further refine the topic and see what kind of results you get. Let's add some additional keywords related to the motion picture industry to our search statement and see how the results differ.

("corporat* takeover*" OR merg* OR acqui*) AND (effect* OR consequence* OR impact* OR result*) AND (employee* OR work*) AND ("motion picture industr*" OR "motion picture studio*" OR "movie production compan*" OR "film production compan*" OR "film studio*")

Although you refined the topic, you still find articles that may not be relevant and those that are totally unrelated to our search in the results list.

Quentin:

So what do I do?

Mike:

You need to locate the subject terms, which describe the main focus of a particular article or book. Keep in mind that each database has its own terminology, so these subject terms can differ between databases. There are a couple of ways to do this. First, you can choose an article that appears to be relevant to your topic and see what subject terms it uses.

Quentin:

Okay, I'll choose these.

consolidation and merger of corporations motion picture industry

Mike:

After locating the subject terms, we need to enter them into the search box. The Subject Terms can then become your new search statement. Enter consolidation and merger of corporations and choose Subject Terms from the drop down menu. Enter motion picture industry and choose Subject Terms from the drop down menu.

Quentin:

This is great! This group of results looks more related and manageable.

Mike:

Wonderful ! Or, you can revise the search using the suggested subject terms that appear on the left-hand side. For your research, you will want to choose scholarly and peer –reviewed articles. Do you remember the discussion about them in your library instruction session?

Quentin:

Sort of, but it was kind of confusing and I didn't really understand it.

Mike:

A scholarly, academic or peer-reviewed article is an article that:

  • has gone through a rigorous review process by other experts in the field
  • provides information on original research or experiments
  • often includes tables, graphs, and charts
  • has reliable and credible information

For more information, consult the library's guide Identify and Locate Scholarly Journals. Go to the How Do I page of the library website, click on the Evaluate what I find? tab, and then click on the Identify and Locate Scholarly Journals link.

In many databases, including this one, we can refine, or narrow down, our results so that only the articles from scholarly journals appear. On the results screen at which we are currently looking, click on 'Academic Journals.' Notice how your results got smaller?

Quentin:

Uh-huh.

Mike:

That's because the database selected only those articles from our original results that are from scholarly peer-reviewed journals. To go back and view all of the search results, scholarly or otherwise, click on 'x' button.