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WGSS 8005: Women's Studies Proseminar (Maura Bernales, Fall 2023): Finding Secondary Sources

Search Hints: Boolean Logic

   to search names as a phrase | ex: "grace lee boggs"

   as a wild card | ex: wom*n, Latin* ("truncation symbol")


AND between words to NARROW results | ex: film AND television

OR between words to EXPAND results | ex: African American OR Black

Using Find It @GSU

Many databases give you only a citation telling you where to find the article, not the article itself.

This button is often a shortcut to the full article text in another database:

Click the Find It @GSU button to open a window with links to the article you need.

If the GSU Library does not have access to an electronic copy of the article, we may have a copy in print.

If that fails, try searching for the journal title in GILFind, or use the "Journals" tab.

If the GSU Library does not have a print or electronic version of the article, use Interlibrary Loan (ILL) to request it from another library.

Lost? Stuck? Too many options? Ask a librarian!

Desktop Delivery

If you find a journal article or book chapter that is available at the GSU Library in print only, you have two options:

  1. You can come to the GSU Library and scan the article/chapter.
  2. GSU faculty, students, and staff can fill out an Interlibrary Loan request for the article/chapter, and it will be made available to you as a PDF, through the ILL system.

To fill out an Interlibrary Loan request, start here.

This offer applies only to journal articles and book chapters and not to whole books.

For more information about Desktop Delivery, click here.

How Do I Find Secondary Sources for My Topic?

Use keyword searching in the GSU library catalog (called GILFind) (for books) and in relevant databases (for articles). Brainstorm different keywords for your topic and see what happens.

Use Boolean searching (AND, OR, NOT) to expand or narrow your searches. 

When you find a relevant item, click on the record and look for subject terms. Clicking on a subject term will bring up other related items.

Try your keywords and subject terms in other databases, and see what you find!

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Looking for books?

This guide focuses on finding articles. For more information on searching for books, please consult the Books tab on the general Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies guide. Librarians can also help you with book searching!

Using "Advanced Search" in Databases

Most databases have an Advanced Search option, which will let you search using multiple terms at once. For example:

An asterisk (*) is a truncation symbol that will bring up results using all the letters leading up to (or following) the * -- so, Islam* will bring up both "Islam" and "Islamic" etc.

The search string in the third box got cut off in the image: it should be lgbt or gay or homosexual or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or queer -- the "ors" mean that you're asking for articles that use any of the terms linked by the "ors"

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A database's Advanced Search option will also let you limit your search in a number of ways, including:

  • Limit by year of publication (helpful if you need the most current scholarship/literature)
  • Limit to scholarly/peer-reviewed articles (this is often just a box you can check)
  • Limit by language (if you read a particular language or languages, you can select those; you can also limit your search to just items in English)

For example, here are some options that often appear in Advanced Search:

Different subject databases may have other options as well, but most of our databases have these as Advanced Search options.

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One box that you SHOULD NOT CHECK is the "Full Text" box. Sounds backwards, I know, but here's why:

Many databases will give you only the citation for a particular article and not the full text.

But! We have lots of databases, and the article that you need may be in a different database.

If you find an article that you want, and it looks like we don't have full text, click the blue "Find It @ GSU" button. That button will point you to the article if it's held in another database, or will help you set up an Interlibrary Loan for the article.

If you check the "Full Text" box in a database, you're actually saying that you only want articles which that particular database has available in "full text." You're shutting off that "Find It @ GSU" option.

Interdisciplinary Article Databases available @ GSU

Women's Studies is interdisciplinary!

These databases are broad, interdisciplinary article databases.

Don't forget to check related research guides to find additional databases for your topic. To see all of our databases, use our A-Z list.

Key Women's Studies Databases Available @ GSU

Click here for a full list of the secondary- and primary-source databases held by the GSU Library.

Other Subject Article Databases Available @ GSU

These databases focus on specific social-science disciplines. To search more broadly, try the databases in the "General Articles Databases" box.

You can also use the dropdown "Find by Subject" box in the Articles / Databases tab to identify relevant databases by subject.

Subject-specific research guides can also help you find more databases for your topic.