Journal Searching Tips

Journal Articles

Since many of your topics are interdisciplinary, besides using the Criminal Justice Guide, make sure you try using other guides found on the "Resource Guides" page, including those for Sociology, Psychology, Education, Communication Studies, Computer and Information Science, Business, or Counseling and Psychological Services. (Other databases and guides may also be applicable.)

Tips on Searching for Journal Articles

  1. Not all databases are full text.

    Some provide indexing and an abstract (a short summary of an article), but many do provide the complete text of an article online. A word of caution: don't limit yourself to just those databases with full text. You could be missing some key articles on your topic by doing that.

  2. Use Boolean Operators (AND/OR/NOT) to broaden or narrow your search.

    AND - will narrow a search. All search terms must appear in a record

    OR - will broaden a search. Either or both terms may appear

    NOT - will narrow a search. The term following "not" won't appear in a record.

    Other search tips:

    • Use quotes " " to keep 2 or more words together as a phrase ("juvenile delinquent")
    • Use the asterisk * to find alternate endings to words (teen* would retrieve teen, teens, teenager, teenagers, etc.)
    • Put synonyms/similar words in parentheses, and link together with the word 'or.' (teen or youth or adolescent or juvenile)
  3. When you locate a good article, look at the descriptors or subject headings.

    That's the special vocabulary used to describe the essence of an article. Build your search vocabulary by keeping track of these terms and writing them down! Use those words listed to locate other articles on the same topic.

    You may also want to think of similar or alternate words, phrases or synonyms for your topic.

  4. Scholarly vs. Popular

    For this assignment (and probably many others), you may need to find and use scholarly journal articles on your topic. So what does "scholarly" mean? Generally, it means that something has been written by scholars for scholars, the real experts, researchers or practitioners in a field. Scholarly journal articles and books will present the latest research on a topic. Scholarly work may also be referred to as "Peer Reviewed" or "Refereed." Tip: Most databases have a limiter box you can click on to search for "Scholarly," "Peer Reviewed," or "Refereed" journals. Be sure you click on it before searching .

  5. To check if the library owns a journal either online or in print format, click on the Full Text Finder icon within a record.

  6. If Penfield Library doesn't own a journal article or book you need, you may obtain it from another library using the Interlibrary Loan service (Illiad).

    You must register with Illiad first (a one-time only registration) before you can use interlibrary loan. Click on the Interlibrary Loan link from the Library's homepage to register on Illiad.

  7. Remember: all of our journal databases and both catalogs can be accessed and searched from off campus by logging in with your SUNY Oswego LakerNet username and password.

Recommended Multidisciplinary Databases

Recommended Specialized Databases