Skip to main content

Virtual Library & Student Resource Guide: Articles/Library Databases

Databases

Databases direct you to a wide variety of resources: articles (journal, newspaper, magazine peridocials), images, videos and more. The databases below have a little bit of everything, so they are a good place to start!

Get started with the multidisciplinary databases below, and browse through our 50+ databases in the databases A-Z link. 

How to find articles

If you’re looking for article, these steps will help you get you started.

  1. PLAN. First, do a bit of planning before you start your search. What is your topic? What are your subtopics? Writing down these terms will help you narrow and focus your search so that you can find articles that really are about your topic.
  2. SELECT DATABASE. Once you have a few different terms ready, select a database that offers a large collection, such as Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, or Academic OneFile.
  3. SEARCH. Enter your search terms in the search pane. Think of synonyms and combine them with the OR search operator. For example, children OR youth OR adolescents.
  4. SCAN RESULTS. When your search results appear, check how many items you’ve retrieved and start to scan the titles. If the results aren’t relevant, try broadening or narrowing your search. If some of the titles do seem related, you’re in luck! You can use the subject headings to help you find new terms to focus your search even more.  
  5. EVALUATE. Note the type of publication (article, original research, review, opinion, news) and where it was published, e.g., is it published in a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, or a popular source for the general public? Does the publication focus on the specific subject area of your topic?
  6. EXPORT. Print, download, or email the article to yourself, and make sure to save the citation and double check it. There may be errors in the format, so check it against the citation rules. The library has citation guides to help.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

Setting up Google Scholar

You can customize Google Scholar to provide full-text links to journal articles available through the LACC Library’s subscriptions. If you are on campus Google Scholar should recognize you as an LACC user and link you to the full text.

If you are researching from an OFF-CAMPUS, try one of these options:

1. Use this Google Scholar link, which will authenticate you as being affiliated with LACC

OR

2. Configure your Google Scholar account

You will need to manually activate Google Scholar Library Links:

  1. Go to Google Scholar search page.
  2. Click on the menu button Menu button and then click settings button Settings.
  3. Select Library links and search for Los Angeles City College.
  4. Check Los Angeles City College – View it @ LACC in the search results, then click Save.

Google Scholar Library Links settings

When full text is available through a LACC Library subscription, you will see the View it @ LACC link to the right of the citation:

View it at LACC link example

Pros:

  • Only scholarly material is included in Google Scholar, according to the inclusion criteria: “content such as news or magazine articles, book reviews, and editorials is not appropriate for Google Scholar.”  Technical reports, conference presentations, and journal articles are included, as are links to Google Books.
  • This database is a citation index, meaning you can search the number of times an article has been cited by other people.  This is a function of many credible databases.
  • Google Scholar is interdisciplinary, meaning you are searching a huge range of topics all at once.  You get different search results this way than you’d find in traditional databases, as a result.
  • It’s easy to use because it’s familiar.

Cons:

  • You will likely hit a paywall when trying to access certain articles, asking for payment to access the full-text of the article, which won't happen when you are searching through your library's databases. 
  • It rarely finds all of the reliable material that “scholarly” databases do, and it sometimes misses really important articles: studies comparing Google Scholar with PsycINFO, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and more found that Google Scholar was unable to produce all of the articles listed in the scholarly databases.  This means you can’t rely on Google Scholar alone.
  • Computer errors are more common with Google Scholar because it isn’t maintained by people: broken links, repetitive results, and other issues are more likely with this database than others.

(Adapted from Beryl Ivey Library Blog and Stanford Libraries)

Databases by Subject

What is Peer Reviewed?

What is a Peer-Reviewed Article? 

Scholarly journals are also called academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed journals. Strictly speaking, peer-reviewed journals refer only to those scholarly journals that submit articles to several other scholars, experts, or academics (peers) in the field for review and comment. These reviewers must agree that the article represents properly conducted original research or writing before it can be published.

What to look for:

  • Scholarly journal articles often have an abstract, a descriptive summary of the article contents, before the main text of the article.
  • Scholarly journals generally have a sober, serious look. They often contain many graphs and charts but few glossy pages or exciting pictures.
  • Scholarly journals always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. These bibliographies are generally lengthy and cite other scholarly writings.
  • Articles are written by a scholar in the field or by someone who has done research in the field. The affiliations of the authors are listed, usually at the bottom of the first page or at the end of the article, universities, research institutions, think tanks, and the like.
  • The language of scholarly journals is that of the discipline covered. It assumes some technical background on the part of the reader.
  • The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report on original research or experimentation in order to make such information available to the rest of the scholarly world.
  • Many scholarly journals, though by no means all, are published by a specific professional organization.

Peer Review Process in 4 steps: 

  • Author (or authors) writes article and submits to journal;
  • If meets the journal's criteria, editor sends copy to peers (experts in the field) for reviewing;
  • The peer reviewers check the manuscript for accuracy and assess the validity of the research methodology and procedures;
  • Paper accepted and published, then usually listed in databases for other researchers to find and read, to inform their writing. 

Adapted from Olin Library Reference, Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA.  

Contact Us:
Library (323) 953-4000 ext: 2400 * Reference (323) 953-4000 ext: 2406 * Circulation/Periodicals (323) 953-4000 ext: 2395
mlklibrary@lacitycollege.edu