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SW 525: Social Welfare Policy: History of Social and Economic Justice (UNH Durham)

Search Approaches

Use 2 or 3 significant words or terms from your research topic

Develop synonyms and alternative terms

  • Example: teens or youth or adolescents

 Try a broader concept if a specific term doesn't retrieve enough results

  •  instead of Girls Inc, try programs for adolescent girls

Try a more specific aspect or element if you get too many results with a very broad concept

  • instead of sports, search a specific sport or category such as baseball or water sports

Use the connector "and" to retrieve records with all the keywords you list to focus and narrow your results

  • skiing and New England

Use the connector "or" indicate that any one of the terms listed needs to be in the results shown; this usually increases the number of relevant results

  • audience or attendees

Use quotation marks to indicate a phrase

  • "flow theory"

Use an asterisk * to pick up words with the same stem but different endings

  • therap* returns therapy, therapeutic, therapists

Look for new words or terms to search when reviewing your results or reading the full-text article.

Make connections through ideas and concepts rather than specific words

Look at the reference list at the end of a relevant scholarly article you found. This may lead you to earlier articles related to your topic. Search the UNH Library catalog by the name of the journal to see if we have the article online or in print.

Check "Times CIted" links, if available, in databases such as PsycINFO and Sociological Abstracts to identify some newer articles citing the article in the database record. This may lead to related relevant articles.

Use Web of Science to follow citations from published articles to identify older and newer related articles across many disciplinary fields in the sciences, social sciences, and arts & humanities.

Searching by the subjects assigned to articles helps

  • identify articles in which the subject is a main focus and not just not just a passing reference
  • pull together results on same concept even if author uses different terms in title or abstract
    • the subject "capital punishment" will retrieve articles using the term "death penalty" as well as those using "capital punishment"
  • when a keyword may have multiple meanings or a more general meaning
    • the subject "flow (conscious state)" will get more relevant results than just searching the keyword "flow"

Look at the subject terms in records for articles that fit your topic closely and search those subjects for more articles

Use the thesaurus available in some databases to see if your keywords are subjects or if alternative terms are used

  • PsycINFO uses "Military Families" as a subject but not "Military Wives"

Databases for Articles

Search these indexes for articles, mostly from academic journals.

Depending on your specific topic, population of interest, approach, etc., consider one of the following specialized databases. For more online resources, check out the complete Database List.

Getting Articles

Click on the Check for Full Text icon in the database record to see how to get a copy of the article: whether online, in print or from another library.

This 2-minute video provides a brief demonstration.

If the UNH Library doesn't have the article you want, request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Peer Review?

Check:

  • the database record for the article, which sometimes indicates whether a journal uses peer review
  • the journal website, especially under About Us or Information for Authors (Example)

Note: Not everything in a journal is peer reviewed; letters to the editor, book reviews, news items, and other short works without listed references are typically not peer reviewed the way more substantive articles are.