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A Social Sciences Guide to Research

Finding Scholarly Articles

infographic showing hierarchy of databases, journals and articles

image showing the databse tab from the ,mcmaster library homepage

Use our Databases tab to find databases by title or by subject.

screenshot of the search box from the library homepage highlighting the online journals tab

Use our Online Journals tab if you know the name of the journal that contains your article. Type in the name of the journal and then narrow done to the specific volume and issue number.

google scholar logo

If you know the name the name of the article that you are looking for type it into Google Scholar

***Simplify the search process by linking McMaster University Library in order to gain immediate access to articles.

Database Searching

There are so many databases to choose from! This video outlines how to decide which you should use.(2:19)

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.doc)

If you are having trouble finding articles remember that research is interdisciplinary. Consider what other subjects may be interested in your topic and check out those databases to find resources.

The goal of a successful search is to retrieve all of the information relevant to a research question without retrieving irrelevant information. This requires creating an effective search string.

1. Identify main concepts from the research question.

2. Brainstorm alternative words and phrases.

3. Create search strings using Boolean Operators.

Boolean Operators and Modifiers

Learn how to use the Boolean Operators AND/OR/NOT to target and refine your search.

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.doc)

Learn how to format your search using the Boolean Modifiers quotes " ", asterisk *, and parenthesis ( )

Transcript (PDF) | Transcript (.doc)

cheat sheet summarizing boolean operators and modifiers

Reading Scholarly Articles

infographic displaying the steps to take when reading scholarly papers

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