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How to Search the Databases

Select a Database

  • Use Databases A-Z to select a specific database or use Databases by Subject to view databases listed by subject.
  • OneSearch allows you to search across most of our article databases at once, and then narrow results by topic, subject area, item type, and date range.

Access Databases from Off Campus

Only current CSUN students, faculty and staff can access our databases from off campus. To access the databases from off campus, click the name of the database. You will then see a screen asking you to log in, using your CSUN User ID and password (the same ID and password you use to log in to the portal).

For more information, see Accessing Library Resources from Off-Campus and the Library's Copyright Statement (in particular, the Appropriate Use of Oviatt Library's Electronic Resources section).

How to Cite Articles

  • Determine which citation style to use; the two most commonly used at CSUN are MLA and APA. If your professor didn't specify, pick one and use it consistently.
  • Check works citation style guides (MLA APA, or other styles) to see what information the article citation should contain and how it should be formatted.
  • Be sure to indicate where material you quoted directly or paraphrased came from.

For more information, see Citing Your Sources - Plagiarism.

Search for Articles

Choose Keywords

Choose keywords that represent the important ideas you want the articles to contain. Given the topic the effect of television violence on children, you might choose television, violence and children as your keywords.

For more information, see Developing a Search Strategy.

Combine Keywords Using AND and OR (Boolean Operators) to Refine Your Search

Tell the database how to combine your keywords using Boolean operators.

  • If you want all of the keywords to appear in every article, put AND between them in the search box. Example: television AND violence AND children
  • To have the database search for articles where either of two terms appears, put OR between the terms in the search box. Example: teenagers OR adolescents

Refine Your Search Using Limits and Field-Specific Searches

There are two options for refining your search beyond specifying keywords.

  • Field-specific searches: the database looks for a keyword in only a specific field, such as author, title, abstract, or publication title. Look for a field drop-down box next to the search box.
  • Limiters: additional fields that appear on the search page such as scholarly (or peer-reviewed), date of publication, and article type. For example, you can select the scholarly limiter and the database returns only scholarly articles.

Printing and Saving Articles in PDF Format

If you are viewing an article in PDF format, use the print and save icons in the Adobe Reader frame. Do not use File > Print, File > Save, Ctrl+P, or Ctrl+S because these commands cause the file to print or save incorrectly.