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EDPE 565 - Library Orientation: 3. Databases

Database Basics

Welcome to the wonderful world of database searching! There is a lot of information here, so take your time, study the videos and tutorials, maybe take some notes, and then dive in and get your hands dirty. Even if you have lots of experience searching library databases, we are positive you will learn something new.  You can get to our full list of databases with this button on Foley's home page

Databases Button

TIP: Foley Library has over 260 databases and it can be difficult deciding which ones to use.  Find an appropriate Research Guide to identify the recommended databases for your field of study or contact the library for advice on where to start or what database to try next!

What is a database, anyway?

In the context of a library, a database is usually a collection citations, abstracts, and full-text articles to which the library subscribes. Databases are expensive, but our subscriptions provide Gonzaga students, faculty and staff with free access to articles in academic journals, newspapers, trade publications and more.  Most of these articles can't be found by searching the Internet. To learn more about databases, watch this video created by a student at Yavapai College.

Wondering what "peer review" means? Watch this video from the librarians at North Carolina State University.

You're ready to try a basic search! This video walks you through a search in an EBSCO database. Don't let the term " Advanced Search" scare you. It just means you have more options to design your search from the start.

"Advanced Database Use" section below contains more tips on improving your searching skills. Please take a look at Tips & Tricks and Subject Headings. The rest are optional for the purposes of this orientation, but you might find them helpful. 

How to Get the Full Text of an Article (when it isn’t in the database)

Very few databases will have the full text of every article. Sometimes, a database only provides the citation and abstract. This is useful for evaluating the relevance of the article to your research, but not so great, if you decide that you want to read the entire article.
Fortunately, Foley has a tool that will search for an article in all of our online databases and connect you to the full text of that article if it is available in any of those databases. 

Check for full text link

Look for a “full text options” link in your results list. In EBSCO databases, it looks like this ------>





The link takes you to Periodicals@Foley, the library’s list of periodicals (journals, newspapers, and magazines) to which we have access, whether electronic or in print.
It automatically searches for that specific article and connects you to the full-text if it's available.
In this case, the article is available in a couple of different databases.
Click on a link to see that database's entry for the article, along with the attached full text.






If you still can’t get full-text, don’t give up! Instead, look for the Interlibrary Loan link and submit a request for the article. See the section of this guide on interlibrary loan for more info.
See the section of this guide on interlibrary loan for more info.

If you are searching for a particular article or journal, it would take forever to search every single database. There are ways of making that search easier. One of them is using Periodicals@Foley. You can use Periodicals@Foley to see if the library has a specific journal.  You can also use it to look for a specific article from the information in a citation. 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 Search

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.

Google Scholar Settings link and Library LinksConnect Google Scholar to Gonzaga's Library:

  1. Go to Google Scholar: 
  2. Sign in with your Gmail account, then go to Settings.    
  3. Go to Library links and search for Gonzaga
  4. Select University Foley Library – Full Text @ Gonzaga
  5. Save.

Log into your Gmail account when searching Google Scholar to use your settings.

Another Connection Option: Add this link**-  Reload in Foley Library Proxy Server - to your bookmark toolbar to access full text at Foley

  1. Find an article through Google Scholar, or other search method.
  2. Click the link in your bookmark toolbar.
  3. Login through the Proxy server with your Gonzaga credentials, if Foley subscribes to the resource, you will now have access to our subscribed content.

**How to add the link to your toolbar:

Firefox: Right click and save Reload in Foley Library Proxy Server to your bookmark toolbar 

Chrome and Safari: Click and drag Reload in Foley Library Proxy Server to your bookmark toolbar

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.

NOTE: The "Cited by..." number counts only the citations visible to Google. See #1 below for more info.

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!

Get Your Hands Dirty!

Recommended databases for EDPE: SPORTDiscus, ERIC and Business Source Complete

  1. Think of a topic or question to research. Identify keywords for your topic, include synonyms.
  2. Log into SPORTDiscus from the Foley Library website. Search with some of the keywords you identified.
  3. Select an article from your results list and open the Detailed Record.
    • Read the abstract.
    • Look at the subject headings.
    • Check for other significant information.
    • The Detailed Record will help you decide if an article is appropriate for your research. Always read the abstract of an article, but also look for other important information such as the language and document type (research article, book review, conference paper, etc.) 
  4. Use the Thesaurus to browse for subject headings on your topic. Are they different from your keywords? Try some in a search.
  5. Refine your search by adding limits: peer reviewed, date, subject headings, etc.
  6. Try the same search process in the Business Source Complete database.
  7. Go to Periodicals@Foley and search for Sport Marketing Quarterly or a journal or magazine of your choice. Is it online?
  8. Use Periodicals@Foley to find the full text of this specific article:

Allen, J. B., & Bartle, M. (2014). Sport event volunteers' engagement: Management matters. Managing Leisure, 19(1), 36-50.


Quiz Yourself!