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JOUR 4040/COMM 6040: Media History (Carrie Whitney, Fall 2023): Searching for Scholarly Articles

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

Nifty Trick for Searching

You can search in multiple EBSCO* databases at the same time (hint: America: History and Life and Communication and Mass Media Complete re both EBSCO databases)!

From an EBSCO database, click on "Choose Databases":

Find the other database that you want to search in and check the box next to it:

Then scroll all the way to the bottom of the list (look at all those databases that might also be of use!) and click "OK".

You should see a link that says "Show All" next to the name of the original database. Clicking on that will tell you which databaseS you are now searching in. 

Relevant Article Databases

For a full list of all GSU Library databases, click here.

For a list of GSU Library databases related to historical topics (including primary source databases),
select "History" from the Databases by Subject menu on the library's homepage. 

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, African American* will bring up both "African American" and "African Americans," and "Black*" will bring up "Black," "Blacks," "Blackness," and so on.

(The third box actually includes all of these terms: "media or news or journalism or press or television or film" -- cut off in the screenshot)

Those ORs mean that you're asking for articles that use any of the terms linked by the "ORs"

* * * * * 

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.

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.