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CSS101: College Success Strategies: Finding Articles in Journal Databases

Work smarter, not harder! Learn about academic support services, library and online resources that will help you gain skills and competencies to succeed at BCC and beyond!

Why should I look for academic articles?

Why should you do research in academic journals?

  • Academic journal articles are often authored by scholars active in a particular field
  • Academic journal articles provide a close look at a particular topic
  • Academic journal articles often provide data to support their findings
  • Academic journal articles can lead readers to other sources through their bibliographies

If you find one good article that supports your research, you can use the bibliography at the end of the paper to locate further research.

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.


If you need research help, using the chat box is a fast and easy way to reach out to us!

If chat is unavailable, please use our Ask-A-Librarian page to submit a question or make an appointment with Book-A-Librarian.

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.    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"

                                                                   "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