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RELS 4770: Religion and Health (Clare R. van Holm: Fall 2020): Finding Articles / Searching in Databases

3 Ways to Get to Articles Databases

There are three ways that you can get to the library's databases,
from off-campus (as well as from on-campus):

  1. Use the Databases by Subject dropdown to find databases for a particular subject area
  2. Use the Databases by Name links if you know the name of the database you're looking for (i.e., Worldwide Political Science Abstracts is under "W" for "Worldwide")
  3. Use this research guide (or any of our other research guides!)

If you are off campus, when you click the name of a database, you will be asked for your Campus ID and password. After that, you'll have full access to the database*. But in order to get that access, the database has to identify you as GSU faculty/student/staff.

*There are a very few databases that you can't access this way (looking at you, Ancestry Library Edition) and are only usable in the actual library building). These are clearly marked in the database listings as ON CAMPUS USE ONLY.

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. (See the Search Hints box, below).

* * * * * 

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.

* * * * *

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. (Yes, you can place requests for articles via Interlibrary Loan during the coronavirus crisis -- article requests are handled electronically).

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.

Search Hints

   to search names as a phrase | ex: "walter cronkite"


   as a wild card | ex: wom*n

AND between words to NARROW results | ex: cat AND dog

OR between words to EXPAND results | ex: cat OR kitten

Humanities/Sociocultural Databases

These databases are focused on humanities/social sciences areas, and are more likely to include articles that will focus on sociocultural aspects of your topic. 

Why APA PsycINFO Gets Its Own Special Box

Unlike most other article databases, PsycINFO's Advanced Search page gives you the option of limiting your search by particular methodologies.

You can try limiting your search to methodology types that may allow for more sociocultural analysis.

Under "Methodology," try selecting for example

  • FIELD STUDY
  • INTERVIEW
  • NONCLINICAL CASE STUDY
  • QUALITATIVE STUDY

(you can select more than one methodology)

This isn't a foolproof way to get articles with more sociocultural emphases, but it may help narrow your results in APA PsycINFO more meaningfully. 

 

Health/Medical Information Databases

You can find a full list of health/medical-related databases under "Public Health" in the Databases by Subject dropdown.

These databases are targeted more to medical practitioners, and are more likely to include evidence-based articles focusing on a technique or tradition's medical efficacy. These databases are less likely to include articles with a sociocultural emphasis.

You can try adding terms like "social" "cultural" "communication OR media" "spiritual* OR religio*" into your search to try to limit results to articles with more sociocultural/religious emphases. For example:

But those aren't foolproof techniques. Your best bet is to look carefully at both the title and the abstract to get a sense of the kind of approach a given article is taking.