A database is a searchable online collection or index of items. There are general, multidisciplinary databases as well as subject specific databases with a narrower scope or coverage. Library databases are great sources for journal articles because much of the material in them is the authoritative, credible information that most professors want. Of course, you should always evaluate the information you find within the context of your research need and the requirements of your assignment. . . even if it's in a library database! Most of the databases available through the ULS offer links to the full text of articles. If not, you may be able to access the full text through another database or in a printed copy held in a Pitt library. To search a database:
Once you have narrowed down your topic and come up with the research question your paper will explore, identify the main concepts in your query. Use these concepts as your search terms (i.e., keywords).
See examples below:
How does domestic violence affect children?
Compose your search:
domestic violence and children
How else might you compose your search?
family violence and children
Does providing employment opportunitites to ex-prisoners reduce the risk they will re-offend? (= recidivism).
ex-prisoners and employment and recidivism
ex-convicts and employment and recidivism
Perhaps broaden the search to find more about recidivism in general:
recidivism and causes
These databases are excellent starting points for your research because they have something on every subject:
Search for e-journals and other serials (i.e., magazines, and newspapers) by title, ISSN, or browsing. Use the PittCat Journal Finder that is in the top navigation of PittCat, or run a regular PittCat search.