ARTICLES & DATABASES
Academic journal articles are often the "gold standard" for academic research. Academic journal articles are often authored by scholars active in a particular field, they provide a close look at a particular topic, and often provide data to support their findings. If you find a good article that supports your research, you can use the bibliography at the end of the paper to locate further research. You find these articles in our databases which index hundreds of thousands journal articles, magazine articles, news articles, and reports.
Use a periodical database to find articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers. Not sure how a database works? The box to your right offers some general tips that apply to most library databases. A complete, alphabetical listing of Bristol's databases provides a description of each and the subject matter covered. Below is a selection of databases which are useful for general academic research. For information on accessing national and regional newspapers for research, see the next section from the pull-down menu in this library orientation.
When we talk about library research resources, we often talk in terms of BOOKS and PERIODICALS. You know what a book is, but you may not know, exactly, what a periodical is. In the simplest terms, a periodical is something that is published PERIODICALLY (lol); something that is published on a regular basis. This includes magazines (monthly like Sports illustrated, or weekly, like People), newspapers (usually daily), and journals (usually quarterly, bi-annually, or annually). The library has access to all types of periodicals through our DATABASES, and you can find them at our A-Z List of Databases. Once in the list, you can search for databases by name, subject, or type of resource you are looking for.
Keyword searching uses the words AND, OR, and NOT as connectors between keyword terms to tell a database or catalog how to search according to a system of Boolean logic.
1. Begin your research with a question about which you are curious, then pull out the essential, or 'key" words:
With the rising price of food, how can urban farming benefit city residents?
"urban farming" "cost of food"*
*"Quotes" are used to indicate a phrase is being searched for. Put quotes around two-or-more word phrases.
2. Make a list of synonyms for each of the terms or concepts:
"Urban Farming" "Cost of Food"
"urban agriculture" "price of food"
3. Use Boolean logic to connect these keywords into a search statement.
"urban farming" and "cost of food"
Your results will show only articles that contain both words.
"urban farming" or "urban agriculture"
Your results will show only articles in which at least one of the terms in each circle appears.
"urban agriculture" not rural
Your results will show only articles in which the phrase "urban agriculture" appears, but not the word rural. It is best to use “not” only when excluding terms.
4. Use Truncation to pick up plurals or alternative endings.
The truncation symbol in the majority of the databases is an asterisk (*), but some databases will recognize a question mark (?), hash mark (#), or exclamation point (!).
farm* : farm, farms, farmer, and farming