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KSL 2 Min. Tutorial: Databases: Home

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Using the Research Databases provided by Kelvin Smith Library allows you to search the literature of a specific subject area in a focused manner, be it psychology, history, the performing arts, or any area of interest to you. Many of the Research Databases concentrate on journal articles in the literature of a given subject area, so this tutorial presents a basic search strategy for using the Research Databases to find journal articles.

Basic Searching Technique

 Step 1: Go to the KSL homepage ( and in the upper left-hand corner, click on the Databases button.

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Step 2: The complete list of Research Databases includes hundreds of databases.

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Step 3: Choose your database. What! How? There are several ways. Some database names make it obvious (Business Source Complete). Others, such as Academic Search Complete (see above) require the short description to understand. In addition, there is a left sidebar to the Research Databases list which presents groups of databases by broad subject area. Finally, ask one of the Research Services Librarians in the subject area you are researching.


Step 4a: Once you have chosen your database. Start by entering a short string of keywords which describe your topic.

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Step 4b: Before you execute your search limit by Full Text, which will limit your results to journal articles to which you have online access to the full text of the articles.

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Step 5: Execute your search and examine the results. When you find an article of interest, click on the Full Text icon.

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Final Tip!

Sometimes general keyword searching (as in the example above) will give you too many results of low relevancy to your topic. Repeat your search using the same search terms, but change the box on the right to search in the Subject Terms index. You will get fewer results, but they will be more likely to be relevant.

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Freshmen and women, if you have additional questions about which databases to use for a specific topic, ask your Personal Librarian.

Research Services Librarian (RSL)

Brian Gray's picture
Brian Gray
Title: Team Leader Research Services; RSL for Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering AND Macromolecular Science & Engineering
Kelvin Smith Library 201-K
(216) 368-8685