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Places to Start
Our best database for religion topics; includes full text and material dating back to 1949.
Academic Search Complete
A general database that will give a variety of results
Research Library Complete
A broad database that includes many newspapers
An excellent database for history and religion topics; includes material published as far back as the late 1800s.
Use this link to search Google Scholar and connect with full text owned by SPU
Where is the Full Text?
Many articles in databases have links to .pdf or .html versions of the article right in the record. But sometimes you'll need to do a little more work to track down the full text. For useful next steps, see our Guide to Finding Full Text.
Searching by Countries
Academic Search Complete and Research Library Complete allow you to search for particular countries or locations. Both databases have dropdown menus to the right of their search boxes, and these menus have an option for Country or Location. Click on the dropdown and select Location (you may need to scroll down) after you put your country or city name in the search box. See below for an example.
Use quotation marks around a phrase to get that exact phrase:
"People's Republic of China"
Truncation gives all forms of a word. Put an asterisk (*) at the end of a string of characters to get that string plus any other endings. For example, searching for
gives corrupt, corrupting, and corruption in the same search.
Use the dropdown menus to specify publications with certain terms in their title:
The above example is searching for the term "China" in journals that have the term "urban" in their title.
Note that there are plenty of other useful aspects to search by in the dropdown, such as Geographic Terms and Subject Terms.
Is this article a good one to use? Here are some ways to tell:
- Check the publisher. If the publisher is a scholarly journal, the article is a good one. Scholarly journals often have words like "Journal of," "Quarterly," or "Review" in the title. Scholarly journals also come out with a new issue no more than once a month, so sometimes looking at a publication schedule can help you tell.
- Check the author. What are the author's credentials? Has the author written many articles or books on this topic? An author that has a PhD or has written a lot on the topic is a good bet, especially one that has written about the topic for many years. Is the author close to the subject matter, that is, from the area or related to the person, or something similar? That can be a good sign, but it can also mean that the author is biased toward the subject. If you use such an author, be sure to acknowledge in your work somehow that the author has a bias.
- Check the date. Unlike other subjects, a more recent work in history is not automatically a better one. But a work written before a major change can have limitations - think of a work on terrorism written before 9/11 - and a more recent work can sometimes have a bias towards the present (that is, it paints past things in a poor light just because they were in the past). The publication date isn't a guarantee of good quality, but it can change how you use an item in your own work.
Ultimately, use your good judgement. And consulting a wide range of articles can help you get a sense of what a good article on the topic looks like!