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Home >> Reference >> News >> How Do I Find the Right Database?

Need to find a full text article on a specific topic, but not sure where to start?  SDSU library databases provide you full text access to thousands of journals and articles. The library offers you over one hundred databases.  Read on for tips on how to find the best database for your research needs.

The tricky part is to search in a database that covers your subject area or topical area.  Let us suggest a couple of ways to decide which database to search:

  • Stop by the Reference Desk: As subject experts, librarians can help point you to which database you should be using

Remember, librarians at the reference desk are here to help you and they can suggest the best databases to try based on your specific topic.  Also, you can ask subject specialty librarians who are experts in finding information in particular subject areas and can guide you in  searching  specialized databases.

  • Check out the Research Guides and the Course Guides

The library offers you Research Guides and Course Guides to help point you in the right direction of databases within your topic.  You can choose a Research Guide on your broad topical area, for example, art, business, education, or psychology.  Once you are in the guide for your subject area, click on the tab on the left hand side of the guide for Articles and you will see a number of the recommended databases for your subject area.  Because each database has slightly different coverage, be sure to read the short description of the database to decide which one to search. 

  • Start your search in a multidisciplinary databases likeAcademic Search Premier or ProQuest Research Library, available through the library’s A-Z database list.

Academic Search Premier and ProQuest Research Library are large multidisciplinary databases that are helpful in the beginning stages of your research process. These databases provide a great deal of breadth on different subjects and can help you  think about how to refine your research topic.  Then, when you are ready, you can use a specialized database to find in-depth information required for your research project.  If you are ready to find and search specialized databases for your topic, remember you can stop by the Reference Desk and ask a librarian to recommend the right database for your needs.

 Below are two user guides from the databases to get you started:

Don’t Waste Time

Selecting the right database to search for your topic is part of the learning process.  Still, if you find yourself frustrated and think you may be searching the wrong database for your needs, don’t hesitate to stop by the reference desk to get help or make an appointment to meet with your subject librarian.

Written by: Brittany Geissinger, Questions?