In Composition I (ENGL 101), you learned about several search strategies that work better with databases such as the Library Catalog and Academic Search Complete. You can review and expand on much of that information in the Basic Strategies for Searching Box on this page. As you become more experienced at research, your needs become more specific, meaning you need to increase your knowledge of how resources work. The Records! video shows how databases are different than the World Wide Web, while other boxes explore how to find disciplinary perspectives and using Google Scholar.
What do your search terms match up against in a keyword search? Why is searching the library catalog or an article database different than searching Google?
Disciplinary perspectives are closely related to the scholarly literature. Disciplines are branches of learning and are distinct, though related, to subjects. Hip-hop as a topic, for example, can be approached through the disciplines of music, literature, psychology, sociology, etc. This page contains some strategies for finding disciplinary perspectives on your topic.
Here are some strategies for finding discipline-related information in books and media.
When using a multidisciplinary database such as Academic OneFile or Academic Search Complete, bear the following in mind:
Some full-text journal collections, such as JSTOR, Project MUSE, and Science Direct allow browsing and searching by discipline. This may be a good next step if you don't find what you need in a multidisciplinary database.
Three subject databases group a number of disciplines into broad fields: Humanities Full Text, Social Sciences Full Text, and General Science Full Text. Like the multidisciplinary databases, these contain a mix of articles from scholarly journals, trade publications, newspapers and magazines.
Other databases are selective collections of materials--reference works, articles from scholarly journals, newspapers,and magazines, multimedia sources, and websites that explore a particular subject area or type of information. These include Biography In Context, US History In Context, and the Literature Resource Center. The sources may draw from a number of disciplines, so use the same strategies you would for a multidisciplinary database.
The big scholarly disciplinary databases (such as MLA Bibliography, PsycINFO, CINAHL and the like) will probably be less useful to you at this stage because they are geared to professionals in the field. While they may contain some useful material, much will be highly specialized and full of disciplinary jargon. In general, these databases are less likely to have full-text articles, though nearly all have abstracts. Nonetheless, it may sometimes be useful to know about them. Go to the Databases Page and select Subject to see a list of databases useful for a particular subject.
Look at the Article Databases tab to access recommended databases for your Composition II assignments.
Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/) is a web search engine that searches specifically for scholarly literature and academic resources from publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar returns not only scholarly journal articles but also research reports, dissertations and theses, preprints, technical reports, patents, working papers, books, court opinions as well as things such as power point presentations, web pages and many other document types it deems scholarly using a built in algorithm.
Google Scholar is NOT Google, while Google searches the entire public Web, Google Scholar searches a smaller portion of the Web, similar to searching in the Library's catalog and databases. There is a more scholarly, authoritative focus with Google Scholar distinguishing it from Google. Google scholar is like a federated search allowing you to search in many places at once. Remember it is not exactly the same as a Library Database, many articles may have links to the Library Databases (if your library is linked in your Google Scholar settings) but it will NOT be all of the same materials. Think of it as a starting place for more precise searching, more search features, and more content use the Library's Databases.
Google Scholar includes many citations that link directly to publishers' web sites of which most will charge a fee for full access. However, the USC Upstate Library subscribes to many of these publications offering you access without paying the publisher (we already have paid). In order for Google Scholar to link to these articles in our paid databases you must make sure that the Library links has USC Upstate’s library information.
Altho the above video was created by Eastern Michigan University it covers the best parts of Google Scholar.