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How to Find and Use Databases

When looking for articles on your topic, the best way to start is to search within article databases. The UCLA Library has access to hundreds of databases, which in turn indexes thousands of periodicals. Many, but not all, contain the full text of articles.

Before beginning your research:

TIP! Make sure your computer is configured for off-campus access to both licensed and unlicensed online databases.

Finding Databases

To find the appropriate databases, go to the UCLA Library website. If you have a specific database in mind:

If you do not already know which database to use:

TIP! Keep in mind that you research topic will probably cover more than one discipline. For example, if you are doing research on Chinese archaeology, you would have to search in both anthropology/archaeology and Chinese/Asian studies databases.

Watch this video for instructions on selecting the appropriate databases. You can also go to Find It! Articles to get a tutorial on finding and evaluating articles.

Using Databases

Once in a database, start with a keyword search using words relevant to your topic. When you see an article that looks interesting, click on the title to see the complete citation. If there are subject terms or descriptors, click on those that seem related to your topic to get other articles on the subject.

Some tips:

  • Not all databases provide the full text of articles. Some are indexes that only provide citations, and sometimes abstracts. Use the UC-eLinks icon button to do an automated search for the full text or to search for the journal title in the UCLA Library Catalog.
  • Do not pay for an article. Find out first if the Library has access to the journal or obtain the article/journal through interlibrary loan.
  • You can access these resources for free while off campus! vSet up your browser for the Bruin OnLine (BOL) proxy or VPN. All you need is your UCLA ID and password and an Internet connection.

Top Databases for General Sociology

Not sure where to start? The following databases include articles on all aspects of sociology. Start with these first.

Related Databases

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