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GSR 150: Research Methods  

Some help finding various resources that will aid in beginning research, composing a research paper, and writing a bibliography.
Last Updated: Jul 11, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Databases & Web sites Print Page

Research Glossary

Abstract: A short summary of an article. Not acceptable as a source.

Citation: A little note inserted after each idea in your paper that tells the reader where in your references the information came from. E.G.: (Roberts, 2000)

Database: A searchable electronic collection of journals.

Full-Text: The entire article is available.

Journal: A regularly-published magazine full of articles.

Peer-Reviewed: See the box below for a full explanation.

Reference: The publication information for each of your sources. E.G.: Roberts, K. (2000). The dynamics of deaf-hearing interaction. American Annals for the Deaf, 186(2), 271-278.

Source: A book, article, or other publication you use to find information for your paper.


What is peer-review?

A lot of times, academic journals require peer review for new articles. What this means is that when an article is submitted to a journal, it has to go through a process where other experts in the same field read it and decide whether or not it's a good article. That decision depends on questions like:

  • Is it well-researched?
  • Are the methods consistently applied?
  • Are the basic principles of the article accurate according to the reviewer's knowledge of the subject?
  • Is the article as neutral as possible, or does the author seem to personally prefer one conclusion over another?

This is important because it's a quality-control process, which means only good, strong articles that are accurate, well-researched, and consistent are published. Because of that, you can trust those articles because you know the author didn't just make up a bunch of big words that sound nice together. Peer-reviewed articles can also be called scholarly articles because they're very high-quality works that are appropriate for use by scholars (like you!) in their academic research.

You can find peer-reviewed articles in most of our e-journal databases. When you search for articles, you will usually see a little box under the search box that says something like "Scholarly journals, including peer-reviewed" in ProQuest Research Library or "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals" in Ebscohost: Academic Search Premier; the database will let you put a little check mark in that box so that only high-quality articles appear in your search results. You may need to hunt around for that little box if you're not familiar with the database you're using, but it's always worth the effort!



Databases & Journals

Listed below are some of the Library's databases. We've also listed some sites for jobs in Washington, DC, as well as major employers.

In addition, look at the Page Contents box to the left for more information about academic research. And as always, if you need help, don't be shy -- drop us a line!

Databases for articles

ProQuest Central
A massive multidisciplinary database that pulls in thousands of journals across hundreds of fields. Covers a wide range of liberal arts publications, as well as some popular periodicals, such as Time, Newsweek, and The Economist, many of which are also shared with Ebsco. ProQuest frequently has more years of coverage, however, and includes Washington Post.

Ebsco Academic Search Complete
Similar to ProQuest, but with a stronger focus on technically-oriented materials.

LexisNexis Academic
A database covering thousands of newspapers and magazines, published all over the world. An excellent source for employment information!

Jobs Web sites

The United States government is by far the largest employer in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, as well as in many other parts of the country. This is the unified listing for all jobs in the federal government, including all agencies, departments, and institutions (such as the Smithsonian), as well as in the three branches and the military.

Washington Post: Jobs
Jobs listing from the Washington Post.
A popular Web site for job hunters and listings. Also contains many articles with advice on various aspects of the working world. Warning: Offers help with finding the best degree for the type of career move you might want to make, but requires that you give them your personal information!
Similar to, but much more focused on finding a career and connecting you with potential employers.


Search tips

Searching in a single journal

If you know exactly which journal you want and what you're looking for, but do not have any publication information (e.g., year, volume number, issue number, etc.), here's the best way to search, using Fine Arts as a sample topic:

  1. Click on Gallaudet e-Journals.
  2. Do a title search for the journal you're looking for. You have three options here:
    • Starts with: What you enter in the search box must be at least the beginning of the journal title (e.g., "Journal of Social Theory" for Journal of Social Theory in Art Education).
    • Contains: In this option, you can enter any word in the title in any order, just as long as those words are somewhere in the title (e.g., "social theory" for Journal of Social Theory in Art Education).
    • Exact: The phrase you enter is reproduced exactly the same in the title of the journal you're looking for (e.g., "social theory in art education" for Journal of Social Theory in Art Education).
  3. When the desired result appears, it should look something like this:
  4. Click on a database's title (ProQuest Education Journals in the above example), and a new window should pop up that takes you to the database and allows you to search in that specific journal.
  5. This new window should offer the option of searching within the selected publication. Pay close attention, however; sometimes, the search box does not appear immediately, and you will need to look for a link saying "Search this publication only."

Searching only in specifically selected journals

Sometimes you want to search in journals covering a specific topic without drowning in the avalanche of results from the full database or searching journal by journal, which can take up a lot of time.

The means of doing this can vary from database to database, and it does require that you know what journals are available in a given database, so a little preliminary research is required (Note: Not every database allows you to do this; ProQuest, for example, will only allow you to search a full database or a single journal). Once that's done, though, here's a rough outline of what you should do:

  1. Go to the database itself, whether Ebsco or something more specific.
  2. Look around for:
    • A link that says Publications or Browse by title; often, you will be taken to a searchable listing of publications that can be selected for searching
    • OR
    • A link that says Advanced Search; often, if you scroll down, there will be a list available of publications that can be selected for searching
  3. After this point, just search as you normally would!


Keywords are pretty obvious -- they're the words you use to search for something. Before you start your research, the first thing you should do is sit down and write out a list of possible words you can use to search for your topic.

It's not always easy. Sometimes the words you know for a specific concept isn't the word that's used by people who have spent a lot of time studying that concept. However, there are ways you can get around this barrier.

  1. Write down all the synonyms you can think of for the word you want to use.
  2. Do this for each concept you want to research.
  3. If you want to search for two or more concepts at the same time (like pedestrian AND museum), you will need to try different combinations of words.
  4. Try different combinations of different synonyms.
  5. Use those combinations to see if you can find any articles that come close to what you're looking for.
  6. If you find an article that has what you need, read through it to find any other keywords you could use but haven't thought of.
  7. Try those new keywords. You may be able to find more articles.
  8. Be patient. Research can sometimes be a long and difficult process.
  9. If you've tried for a long time and still can't find anything, contact a librarian.
    • Come into the Library and ask at the Service Desk.
    • IM us using the "Contact a Librarian" box on this page or the chat widget on our home page.
    • E-mail us at with details.
    • Call us through VP at 866-957-4416.

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