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CSS101: College Success Strategies (Kenney): Finding Articles in Journal Databases

Librarian's Tip: Make use of article databases as sources for quality information!

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 BCC'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.


BCC librarians are available to help you with your research. We provide guidance in locating information and using resources available through the library and on the internet.

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You can also use our off-line form, and a librarian will email you back with answers and suggestions. You will receive a reply within 2 business days.

Surefire Search Strategies for Article Databases

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.     Turn your research question or statement into keywords:

                   The trend of Urban Farming will continue to grow as the price of food rises.

"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"

                                                                   "food cost"

 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 anasterisk (*), but some databases will recognize a question mark (?), hash mark (#), or exclamation point (!).


farm* : farm, farms, farmer, and  farming

Sample Search: Academic Search Premier