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Library Basics

The fundamentals of using the resources of the Good Library

About EBSCO and Subject Specific Databases

EBSCO is a go-to library standard for academic articles. Organized in a suite of subject specific databases (or resources), academic articles provide scholarly research from peer-reviewed journals. EBSCO, along with JSTOR, stand out for academic articles from other websites for scholarship (even including Google Scholar) because of their careful selection of quality publications.

Academic articles in EBSCO are:

  • peer-reviewed
  • hand selected for quality
  • indexed (which helps when searching)
  • not available free on the open web

EBSCO is the go-to place for college level research after you have completed your background research in encyclopedias and academic books. Academic articles will focus on specific research questions and often times will be more narrow than your own paper. In careful consultation with your professor, academic articles are a key part of a college paper.

Subject Specific Databases are collections of academic articles separated by subject. For example, PsycINFO searches psychology and the areas of behavioral science and mental health. These are great resources to help limit to articles exclusively in your research area. Many are located within EBSCO, but others are located in similar looking resources. To view the complete list of subject specific databases, select the A-Z List of Databases on the library homepage.

Searching EBSCO

EBSCO, unlike most search interfaces, provides three search boxes. While one can search in one box as they would Google, utilizing the three boxes allows on to build a precise search.

EBSCO search box

What makes the additional search boxes helpful is the box with the word AND in it. When you click on this box it opens with three options.

  • AND: Each result contains all search terms.
    • The search polar bears and climate change finds items that contain both polar bears and climate change.
  • OR: Each result contains at least one search term.
    • The search polar bears or climate change finds items that contain either polar bears or items that climate change.
  • NOT: Results do not contain the specified terms.
    • The search polar bears not climate change finds items that contain polar bears but do not contain climate change.

For example, this search would look for articles with the term polar bears; along with at least one of the terms conservation, protection, or preservation; and not have the term zoo.