The Oviatt Library subscribes to 25,000 academic journals, either in print or online, or both. There are several ways to access journals:
- Start at the Library Catalog and do a PERIODICAL TITLE search. For example, typing "psychology" or "education" will retrieve a list of journals whose titles start with that word.
- Start at the Library Catalog and do a KEYWORD search. After typing in a word or phrase, open the Limit to: pull-down menu and switch from Entire Collection to Periodicals/Serials. This retrieves journals whose content is closely related to your keywords, in addition to those with those keywords in the title.
- For online journals only, click Library Catalog Periodical Search. To search for electronic periodicals only, check the "Search electronic periodicals only" checkbox.
Online journals are indicated by "online" or "electronic resource" (same thing). Click on the title for the call number of a print journal, or to access the full-text of an online journal.
Databases of Journal Articles
The best way to find articles on a specific topic is to search in a database, most of which index thousands of articles in hundreds of journals. Not all articles are available full-text online; some are in print only and some are not available from the Library except through interlibrary loan. Keep in mind that interlibrary loan items can take a week or more to arrive. To determine the availability of an article, click or any link labeled Full Text.
Below are recommended databases for EPC. All are accessed from Databases A-Z on the Library's homepage. When accessing from off-campus, they require log-in with a valid CSUN ID and password. These two databases are available through the EBSCO interface. See tips on using EBSCO databases.
- PsycINFO -– the premiere database for psychology and related fields, produced by the American Psychological Association. 98% of articles are from peer-reviewed journals. Coverage dates back to the 1800s. For more information about PsycINFO, see http://www.apa.org/psycinfo/about/.
- ERIC – Educational Resources Information Center, produced by the U.S. Department of Education, the premiere database for education and related fields. ERIC is available through the CSA, EBSCO, and FirstSearch interfaces. For information on using ERIC through the CSA interface, see the ERIC via CSA Database Guide, designed for EPC students.
Additional databases for related disciplines:
- Education Index with Full Text on WilsonWeb -- another database for education.
- PsycARTICLES -- database of full-text articles from journals published by the American Psychological Association. Much narrower coverage than PsycINFO, with only 60 journals (see Coverage list) compared to 2,250 in PsycINFO.
- PubMed/MEDLINE -- the premiere database for medicine, allied health fields, and life sciences, produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. PubMed now includes some links to full text articles and related resources.
- Sociological Abstracts -- covers social structure, inequality, social change, social problems, etc. Available via CSA.
- Social Services Abstracts -- covers social work, human services, social welfare, social policy, etc. Available via CSA.
Many of these databases have online user guides; simply click the next to its name on the Databases A-Z list. For help in finding articles, contact the EPC librarian or visit the Oviatt Library reference desk. Below are some general suggestions for searching databases.
Search Tips and Tricks
When searching databases, the goal is to find a reasonable number (e.g. 10-50) of articles relevant to your topic. Here are some tips for improving your search results:
- Most databases allow you to choose a date range, so you can limit the search to recently-published articles only.
- Most allow you to choose English articles only, which can further reduce your results.
- Many also allow you to limit your results to peer-reviewed journals, which contain high-quality scholarly articles.
- In keyword searching, a truncation symbol (usually *) expands your search by including various forms of a root word, e.g. adolescen* retrieves adolescent, adolescents, and adolescence.
- Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) serve to either narrow or expand your search: OR expands it by including synonyms or related terms (e.g. adolescen* OR teen*); AND narrows it by finding the subset of articles that contain both search terms you want (career counseling* AND latino*); NOT narrows your search by eliminating articles that contain a specific term you do not want (eating disorder* NOT anorexia). An easy way to remember the difference is the rhyme OR gives you MORE, while the other two operators give you less (although the results may be better).