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Research With Databases

Key Databases We Covered in Class 

Be glad - very glad - that we no longer have to comb through stacks of paper to find stuff. Image via @binarydreams on flickr.

The Big Picture: 

Enter UT Libraries’ Databases and Indexes page here.

Finding Periodicals/Primary Sources:

ProQuest: This is the site that allows you to select all ProQuest databases for search. Remember, you’ll probably want to limit your search to the Washington Post, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times; for some subjects, you might include Alt-Press Watch as well.

LexisNexis Academic: Don’t forget to limit your search by date, and (possibly) exclude parts of the database, to make things easier on yourself.

Readers’ Guide Retrospective: Only covers through 1982. Remember: this is not a full-text database, so you’ll need to take the information you get from the database and find the physical periodical in the library. To do this, you visit UTNetCat, select “Journal Title” in the left-hand navigation menu, and figure out where the periodical can be found.

Finding Scholarly (Secondary) Sources:

Use keyword search in UTNetCat. If you find a book that works for you, look for its subject headings and click on the one that’s appropriate to your project in order to find similar titles.

Physical/meatspace version of subject-heading search: When you’re in the library getting your book, look at the titles nearby; many of these will deal with similar subjects and might be helpful to you. I often go to the library seeking one book and leave with a bagful.

Perform a cross-database search by going to the library homepage, identifying the “LibSearch” window (looks like an old-school card catalogue card), and selecting the “Articles” tab.

GoogleScholar: Operates outside UT system. You may find citations for articles that are behind a paywall; you may have to take the citation into UT’s JStor or Project Muse to find the full-text version.

Project Muse JStor : Both contain full-text articles from scholarly journals.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses: Unpublished scholarly work. Sometimes features more up-to-date subject matter, since this is where graduate students list their work before publishing it as books or journal articles (publication can take YEARS).

Seeking Help: 

Ask. A. Librarian! They LOVE being asked research questions, and are trained to demystify the process for you. You don’t even have to go into the library and have a face-to-face interaction with one; just send an email or even use their chat system.

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