Getting some background information before you start researching will help you focus your topic and give you an idea of what to look for in your search. Here are some Reference Databases you can use to get a basic understanding of your topic.
Gale Virtual Reference Library: Over 100 encyclopedias, almanacs, and other reference sources.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context: Features viewpoint articles, and topic overviews on controversial topics.
Before you start your research, brainstorm some broader, narrower and/or related keywords to help with your research. These keywords can come from your own knowledge of your topic or from searching background information.
Let's say I am in the beginning stages of my research on Ida B. Wells-Barnett:
|Main Keyword 1||Main Keyword 2||Main Keyword 3|
|Ida B. Wells-Barnett||suffrage||slavery|
|Ida B. Wells||journalism||Tennessee|
Once you have some Main Keywords, think of specific concepts to focus on: healthcare, workplace discrimination, child rearing, etc. Do some Topic Exploration to come up with these and similar concepts.
You might also take some time to think about what kinds of information you need and the resources you should be using to get that information. Here are some examples:
Historical resources: newspaper articles from the time period, census data, letters, oral histories
Critical analysis: scholarly articles, books
Definitions and Background Information: biographies, subject encyclopedias
Using AND & OR in a Database
Databases search differently than most search engines. Once you've brainstormed your keywords, you can use the words AND & OR to manipulate your search. Here is an example from the Academic Search Premier database:
Librarian tips & tricks! Putting your search term in quotation marks will make sure the database only searches those two terms right next to each other, like "Ida B. Wells". Including an asterisk (*) will truncate your keyword, so journalis* will search for journalist, journalism, etc.
Remember- AND narrows your search while OR broadens it. Think of it like a Venn Diagram:
|Returns results with all of your keywords||Returns results with any of your keywords|
Find Articles in Databases
General/Multi-Subject Databases: These will bring back results from different disciplines and sources
Subject Databases: These will bring back results from a specific discipline:
Gender and Women's Studies Databases
Religious Studies Databases
America: History & Life: Articles as well as dissertations on the history and culture of the United States and Canada.
ATLA Religion Database: Over 1,700 journals, essays, and book reviews from American Theological Library Association (ATLA)'s print indexes on religion and theology.
GenderWatch: Scholarly journal articles, magazines, newspapers, and more that focus on how gender impacts a broad spectrum of subject areas.
Historical Abstracts: covering the history of the world from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women's history, and history of education.
Consider using databases from other disciplines by browsing the Find Articles by Subject page.
If you need an article or book that we don't have, we can order it from another library through Interlibrary Loan.
Gender and Women's Studies librarian:
Citing Your Sources: Get help with MLA Style Citations
Annotated Bibliography: Learn what one is and how to do one:
The Writing Center: Make an appointment with a writing consultant to help with all stages of writing your paper.
Visit the OneSearch FAQ to learn all about how to use the library's new online OneSearch tool to find articles, books and more. Or, watch the How to Use OneSearch video:
What is a Scholarly Article?
Unsure about what it means when an article is scholarly? This video will explain:
It is important to evaluate your sources- even if they're scholarly. Use the CRAAP test as a guideline. This video will explain:
Find an Article From a Citation
Learn more about the components of a citation and how to find an article using one at the Research Therapy Series' Finding an Article From a Citation.
Accessing Library Resources through Google Scholar
Click on Settings
Select Library Links
Search for CSUN, check the box and Save
If an article is available through a library database, you'll be able to access it by clicking on SFX Find It at CSUN