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Finding journal articles & using databases
Academic journal articles are an excellent source of scholarly information on your topic. Here are a few tips for finding journal articles:-
- Articles on your reading lists will often have a link to let you read the text straightaway
- Use the Articles & more search in iFind, especially if you know the name of the article you want
- You'll find more relevant results if you search specialist databases - You can see some suggestions below.
- Use the abstract (a summary of the article) to help you decide if an article is relevant for you
You can use iFind to locate journal articles on a topic or by a particular author, if you want to carry out a more thorough search it is better to use electronic databases. Some of these databases (e.g. JSTOR) contain full-text articles, while others (e.g Web of Science) contain only a citation (or record) and abstract (a summary) of the article. In this case, you will often see a 'iGetIt@Swansea University' link which you can click on to see if we hold the article here.
With over a third of a million full-text works of poetry, prose and drama in English, together with the definitive online criticism and reference library, Literature Online is the world's largest cross-searchable database of literature and criticism.
JSTOR contains the full text of journals, usually from their beginning up to about 5 years ago. For more recent years, links to the full text of articles on external sites is often given. Subjects covered include ecology, economics, education, finance, history, language and literature, mathematics and statistics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, politics and population studies.
Muse gives us the full text of recent years of about 150 high quality peer-reviewed journals
in the Humanities. A very high proportion are concerned with literature. It also provides access to several hundred freely available ebooks.
MLA International Bibliography
The MLA International Bibliography gives details of most journal articles and books on modern languages and literatures (including English) from the 1920s to the present. It also has details of many journal articles and books on linguistics, folklore and film. It does not include book reviews.
International Medieval Bibliography
The international Medieval Bibliography is the leading interdisciplinary bibliography of the Middle Ages (400-1500). It provides details of over 300,000 articles published between 1967 and the present in journals, conference proceedings and essay collections.
Times Digital Archive
The Times Archive provides the entire Times newspaper, from its beginning in 1785 up to 2014, including articles, photographs, letters and advertisements.
Oxford English dictionary (Online)
This contains the full text of the twenty-volume second edition together with the New Edition which is in progress. Every three months new and revised entries from the OED's revision programme will be published as part of the growing New Edition. Many types of searches are possible: it is easy, for instance, to search the 2,400,000 quotations. Original 2nd ed also available in print form.
How to improve your searching
- Find the keywords for your topic or essay. Don’t type in a long sentence.
- Are there synonyms or related terms (broader or more specific) that might be relevant
Getting more results
- You can use a truncation symbol (usually an asterisk *) to find different endings to your keyword. For example, searching for read* would find read, reading, reads, etc.
- You can find alternative terms simultaneously by linking them with or; for example, you could search for adolescent or teenager.
Getting fewer results
- If you get too many results try searching just the title rather than the full record. You should get fewer, more relevant results.
- Use quotation marks if you want your search terms to appear as a phrase.
- Use 'and' to combine search terms
- Use the refinement options and the searchwithin box to make your search more specific
Critically appraising your sources is a crucial element of any literature search. You need to consider is your sources are:
- academic enough
- Free from bias
Ask yourself the following questions about the information you have found.
- Who is the author or organisation responsible for the information?
- Are they qualified to write on this topic?
- Is the information out of date?
- Does it matter?
What sort of information?
- Is it opinion or fact?
- Is it reliable and independent?
- Is it academic/research-focussed or commercial?
This document is a resource you can use to help you evaluate items you have found.
A-Z of English Literature Resources
This is a list of the databases that are relevant to English Literature students. If you click 'view more results' you can explore all our databases, access database descriptions and filter by database type.
Effective searching with Google
Google can be a useful tool for finding information online. However, it can be difficult to find the most relevant and reliable sources of information from a list of thousands or millions of results. Don't assume the results at the top are the best ones! The following strategies will help you search Google more effectively.
Search a website or group of websites
Use your keywords and the command site:url to find results from one website or from a group of websites. For instance, a search for foundation phase site:gov.wales will find information about the Foundation Phase from the Welsh Government website. You could use site:ac.uk to search academic websites.
Find a particular type of document
Use the command filetype: to limit your search to a particular type of document. This can be useful if you are looking for a certain type of information. For example, if you government documents are likely to be published in PDF form, so you could use filetype:pdf to limit your results to PDFs and make it easier to find what you need. Numerical data is likely to appear in a spreadsheet, so you could use filetype:xls to look for Excel documents.
Google Scholar searches scholarly literature such as journal articles and abstracts, but you may have difficulty accessing the full-text of the material you find. Linking your Google Scholar account to Swansea University will help with this. Just go to the settings cog from the menu
and then go to Library Links to find Swansea University.
Why use library databases instead of Google Scholar?
Although Google Scholar can be useful, iFind and subject databases such as Science Direct have certain key advantages:-
- Identify peer-reviewed articles.
- Easy access to an abstract (summary of the article).
- Easy access to the full article, where available, with no extra charges.
- Citations and reference lists for each article - usefull for widening your reading.
- Pre-publication research.
- Be more organised - options to email, download & integration with bibliography managers (like Endnote).
Most English Literature and Linguistics journals can be found in the ranges P and PR on Level 1 West.
If you need any help, you can email your Librarians - email@example.com