Now that you know how to search a database, there are a few other things you should know:
This button on the library's website (foley.gonzaga.edu) gives you access to all of our databases:
But we have 350+ databases, so which ones should you use?
A good place to start is Academic Search Complete, which is a broad, cross-disciplinary database. It covers many academic subjects, and includes both scholarly sources like academic journals and non-scholarly sources like newspapers and magazines.
But some of the best material can be found in subject-specific databases. These databases cover a single subject, like psychology or history, in great depth, and the materials included are mostly scholarly. Think about your research question, and think which academic discipline would study it. This is not necessarily the class you are in! For instance, you might be in an English class and researching a paper about social media and sleep habits — in this case, a sociology database, a psychology database, and a medical database would each have good information, depending on which angle you are pursuing.
To find a subject-specific database, go to the databases list and click the menu labeled "All Subjects" in the upper right:
Then select the subject you are looking for. You will see a list of all the databases the library has which deal with that subject, with the ones we usually recommend first listed at the top.
If you are searching for a particular article or journal (for instance, if you are following the research trail back by looking at an article's citations), it would take forever to search every single database. Thankfully, you can use Periodicals@Foley to see if the library has a specific journal, and if so, which database it is in. Here's how:
When an article you want isn't available from one of Foley Library's resources, or, say, when you find an article in a web search but the publisher wants you to pay $35 to download it, the library's Interlibrary Loan department comes to the rescue!
There are two ways to order an article using Interlibrary Loan. The first is to click on the link to Check Gonzaga Libraries for Full Text Options that accompanies a citation in a database:
If we don't have the article in any other database, you'll see a link to request the article via interlibrary loan:
Click there to get to the sign-in page for Interlibrary Loan. Once you sign in, the system pre-fills a form with all the information needed to order the article.
Select your Needed Before date and your Department (Organizational Leadership, Religion, etc.) and Status (Graduate, Undergrad, etc.), then Submit the request.
What happens next? Our interlibrary loan department identifies a library that owns the journal and sends the request to them. That library scans the article into a PDF and, once it's uploaded to your ILL account, you get an email that the article is available. An uploaded ILL document is only available for 30 days or five views, whichever comes first, so it's a good idea to download the PDF right away! Oh, and even though the name of the service is interlibrary loan, articles are yours to keep. Books, on the other hand, do need to be returned . . . but you knew that already.
The other way to order an article requires a bit more effort, but it works just as well. Log in to ILL, click Create Request, and select the type of item you are requesting: Article, Book/Media, or Book Chapter. Fill in the form with as much information as you can and submit the request.
We can get almost any article requested through ILL. It is seamless, fast (but not instant), and free to you, so don't let that perfect article get away!
Google Scholar searches for scholarly content across the internet. It's easy to use, but you won't want to rely on it as your only source.
Log into your Gmail account when searching Google Scholar to use your settings.
PROS - Things Google Scholar is good for:
1. Google Scholar shows you how many times an article has been cited, and by whom. Just click "Cited by . . ." under the article abstract to see a list of every citation Google is able to retrieve.
Why is this useful? Well, you already know that looking at the list of references from a good article will help you find other useful articles on your topic. That's looking backward in time to articles and research that preceded the one you are reading. Looking at "Cited by..." in Google Scholar, allows you to look forward in time, to articles and research that followed the article and hopefully built upon it.
2. Google Scholar is great for getting a quick-n-dirty overview of a topic. We're all used to Google's keyword-heavy searching. Searching Google-style in Google Scholar is a great way to find relevant articles quickly, which can help you get a feel for the journals, terminology, and issues surrounding your subject of research. You can then use that knowledge to search more deeply in the library's subject-specific databases.
3. Google Scholar can find "gray literature," like conference proceedings or unpublished works, that are often not indexed in scholarly databases.
4. Google Scholar is good at helping you fill in missing information if all you have is a partial citation. Often Google's search algorithm can find the full citation for you.
CONS - Things Google Scholar is poor at:
1. Google Scholar cannot retrieve anything that is not available or cited on the surface internet. The majority of scholarly work is not on the surface internet. Anything behind a paywall — like a scholarly database — is invisible to Google.
2. Google Scholar has no subject headings and few ways to refine a search. This makes it more difficult to zoom in on just the right results.
3. Google Scholar has no way to search by discipline. Searching is almost entirely keyword based, and your keywords may apply to many disciplines.
3. Not everything Google Scholar finds is actually scholarly. Google's magic algorithm takes into account indicators like whether the article has been cited elsewhere, but at the end of the day it's just a guess.
4. Google Scholar isn't picky about the quality of the full-text it finds, so you need to be. One of our librarians found a great article using Google Scholar, but the PDF provided was an early version of the article, complete with editors marks!