Are You Searching Scholarly Databases Effectively?

By Grace Hamburger on Nov 13, 2019
eContent Pro
Are You Searching Scholarly Databases Effectively?

When you can’t remember the name of the guy who starred in that movie, it’s all too easy to ask Siri. If you’re baking a cake but you can’t remember what temperature to set the oven, you pull out your phone and do a quick Google search. But when you’re researching for a manuscript, you can’t rely on search engines where unverified information can come in as easily as a tomato soup recipe. Academic articles require much more care and conviction than an average search can supply, therefore utilizing scholarly databases has become an essential part of the research process.

Scholarly databases are collections of online journals that users can search for articles relating to a subject they specify. Some scholarly databases are geared towards specific subjects, for example, PsycINFO specializes in psychology. Others, like Scopus, offer a wide range of journals in many subjects. But how do you know where to look, and how can you most effectively search for what you need? eContent Pro has a few tips.

Find Reliable Sources

So, you know that mass search engines like Google and Yahoo are unreliable as far as Academic research goes, but how can you tell what is reliable? That’s right, you research it. When checking the legitimacy of a journal, VirtualSalt suggests what they call the “CARS Checklist”: Ask yourself if the research is credible, accurate, reasonable, and supported. There are many reliable scholarly databases that are well known in the Academic community, like Scopus and PubMed. But for smaller databases, it’s all a matter of checking and double-checking the site you’re using. Using databases that are directly affiliated with accredited libraries or universities is a great way to ensure the website is valid. Make certain that within the articles, conclusions are based on evidence, research is documented, and sources are always cited.

Know How to Search

Finding plenty of information is important, but only if the information is as relevant as possible. In Academic searching as well as daily searching, the vaguer the search, the vaguer the results. To find the most relevant information, narrow your search as much as you can. For example, instead of searching for “tourism management,” be more specific, like “tourism management in Spain.” Most databases also have options to filter your searches, by date or by subject, streamlining the searching process even further. Be particular in your search, and it is also important to use only key words with no conjunctions or prepositions. Search engines don’t need that added text to accurately search for what you need and foregoing unnecessary parts of speech while navigating databases can save you time and energy.

Take Diligent Notes

Researching in an organized way is important, and a great way to stay on top of things is to take diligent notes. This is not only key in your actual research gathering, but also just as important for citation purposes. Ensure that you have all of the information you need for a proper citation. If you don’t, that could indicate the source is unreliable. Citing your sources gives proper credit to other researchers and also helps you avoid plagiarism. Even accidentally forgetting to cite your source is plagiarism and a form of unethical conduct that could land even the most seasoned researcher in hot water. Taking notes on the website as you are using it also allows you to easily reference back to the site. Keep your valuable information organized and create a note-taking system that won’t lose all of your research in the shuffle.

After gathering your information and writing your article, choosing which one of the many accredited journals you perused during your research to submit your work to can prove a daunting task. Why not take some of the pressure off? eContent Pro offers journal recommendation services, where experienced journal selectors will help guide you to the most suitable journals for your work!

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