Finding articles on your topic

One of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the Research Services desk is how to find articles on a specific topic. While the details of your research (e.g. topic and assignment requirements) will make a difference in the approach you should take, there are some general recommendations you can apply to your research. 

First, you need to find a database that will have the information you need. To locate databases that cover your topic start at your MyScranton account, select the Library tab, and then under the list of “Library Links” click on Databases. Once you are on the Databases page, you will be able to “Browse databases by subject” using the drop-down menu there. If your subject is not listed select General Topics 

Now, you can look through the list of databases suggested for your subject area. Read their descriptions to see what type of content they cover so you can select the right database(s) to search in. For example, if you need articles covering bridal ceremonies in ancient Rome, you will not use databases like Current Affairs in Video or Statista because they contain videos on hot topics and business statical reports, respectively. Instead, you should reference databases such as JSTOR or America: History & Life, both of which cover history.  

Once you have selected a database, you can put together a search strategy. Do not type complete questions into a database! Instead, break your topic down into keywords and input those into the database’s search boxes. A search strategy for bridal ceremonies in ancient Rome might look like:
(((bridal or marriage or wedding) AND (ceremon*)) AND (Rome))
JSTOR search strategy with bridal or marriage or wedding in the first search box, ceremon* in the second search box, and Rome in the third search box.

If you need help crafting a search strategy, please contact a Research and Instruction Librarian 

After you run your search, look through the list of results to find articles you can use. This is a great point in the search process to learn new keywords to incorporate into your search strategy or add additional limiters such as publication date (these filters/limiters will often be located to the left of your search results).  

If you locate an article of interest but are having trouble finding the full text, you can review the Library’s set of FAQs on how to find the full text of an article.