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Social Sciences: Finding journal articles

Subject guide for social science courses: criminology / sociology


Useful to know

More database tutorials

The Welch Medical Library at John Hopkins University has produced two very good tutorials on running searches in PubMed.

Key Points

  • PubMed is based on Medline, which is one of the key health databases internationally

  • BU library resources will provide you with more full text journal content than PubMed

  • By default PubMed can only provide full text access to 'free' articles on the web

  • Many newly published 'free' articles will only be available through a university subscription for the first 3-24 months

  • PubMed does not automatically tell you if BU can provide access to a source

  • Access to BU subscribed full text via PubMed will often appear automatically on campus but not off campus

Key point

Peer reviewed journal articles form a key part of your research at university. As with books, you will find them on your reading lists but you will also need to search for them independently. The best way to do this is to search a subject database or use a tool to look into lots of subject databases at the same time.

EBSCOhost allows you to search across a range of different databases containing different resource types and is a good starting point when looking for peer reviewed journal articles (remember to limit your search to 'peer reviewed')

The best way to undertake a successful search is to fill in a search proforma before you start. This does not need to be time consuming. To learn the basics about finding articles with EBSCOhost, view the tutorial on designing a database search.

The following databases are a selection of those provided through EBSCOhost; you can search one or multiple databases (see the EBSCOhost video) - note: there will be some overlap but you can remove duplicates. 

  • Academic Search Ultimate (multi-disciplinary) (indexes approximately 16350 journals/magazines)
  • CINAHL (nursing) (indexes approximately 3604 journals/magazines)
  • Eric (education) (indexes approximately 1300 journals/magazines)
  • Medline (medicine/health) (indexes approximately 5280 journals/magazines)
  • PsycINFO (psychology/psychiatry) (indexes approximately 2200 journals/magazines)
  • SocINDEX (social sciences / social work) (indexes approximately 3012 journals/magazines)
  • SPORTDiscus (sport) (indexes approximately 289 journals/magazines)

The databases below are useful but provided separately.

  • PubMed (Medline) (medicine/health) (indexes approximately 5280 journals/magazines)
  • Scopus (multi-disciplinary) (indexes approximately 23452 journals/magazines)
  • Web of Science [WoS] (multi-disciplinary) (indexes approximately 21100 journals/magazines)

Full text

Databases are designed to help you find what has been written, not just what is available in full text. Always look out for the full text limiter (usually a tick box) which will narrow your search to just the content you are able to access immediately in full text.

Example: EBSCOhost full text limiter:

Full text and peer review options

From L6 onwards you are eligible for free inter library loans (supplied to us via the British Library) through our inter library loan service

Note also the peer reviewed limiter