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Choosing an Article Database

Choosing the right article database can be tricky. You need to think about the type of sources you need (magazines, journals, newspapers, books, etc.), how much you know about the topic, and the subject area of your topic. 

What is the Subject of Your Topic?

It's important to think about what subject areas your topic falls under as different databases will have different perspectives. The Undergraduate Library's Find Articles Guide provides a good starting point for selecting databases. At the top of the Find Articles page you will note some basic, general databases that are good for beginning research on almost any topic; further down this page you will see databases listed for a wide variety of subject areas. 

For example, if your topic was "drugs" there are many different ways to narrow the focus of that topic and potential subject areas to look at.

Topic

Focus

Narrower Focus

Subject Area

Possible Database

Drugs

none

 

general information to get started

Academic Search Premier
Academic OneFile

Drugs

drug education

dangers of addictive drugs

education

Education Full Text

 

 

peer pressure and drugs

education
psychology

Education Full Text
PsycInfo

 

 

use of prescription drugs

nursing
medicine

Health Source
PubMed

 Drugs

drug abuse

economic effects of addicted employees

business

Business Source Complete
ABI/INFORM

 

 

physical problems of drug-addicted infants

medicine

PubMed

 

 

loss of custody of drug-addicted infants

sociology
law

Sociological Abstracts
SocIndex

 

Subject-Specific Database Tips