WR 121 Cowan Winter 2021: Database articles

Library database searching for environmental issues

For this assignment, you must find at least one academic article from a library database.  Types of articles in library databases that are useful for researchers of environmental issues include: 

  • Peer-reviewed research articles from scholarly journals:  These are written directly by the scientists and scholars who conducted the research.  These primary source articles are written for an audience of other experts, and can be challenging for the general public to understand. 
  • Credible magazines and news sources.  These are written for the general public by journalists and other professionals.  Articles are reviewed by an editor before being published in a magazine or news source. 

The information in this tab provides skills and resources for database research:

  • Left column: types of articles, including how to read peer-reviewed research
  • Middle column:  how to search databases successfully
  • Right column: recommended databases for researching environmental issues

Peer reviewed articles -- the basics

First, watch this three minute video to understand the basics of peer review.  Then follow the link under the video to learn some essential tips for reading and understanding a peer reviewed article. 

Peer reviewed articles are very credible, and also VERY HARD to read and understand.  Review these tips from Utah State University to make the process easier:  How to Read a Scientific Article

Types of Articles

There are many different types of articles. The chart below can help you figure out which type(s) you're looking for or identify an article you've already found:

Decorative image of a newspaper News articles provide the most current information. Certain newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, are also known for thoughtful, in-depth analysis of important topics and events.
Decorative image of a magazine cover Popular magazine articles can help you generate ideas about issues, controversies, or unanswered questions about a topic, which you might want to explore further. They sometimes refer to studies or scholarly work that you can track down for more information.
Decorative image of a trade magazine cover Trade publications are written by and for professionals within an industry. These are an excellent source of very specific information from inside the field.
Decorative image of a scholarly journal cover Scholarly journal articles go through a process of peer review before they are published. They are written by experts in the field (the people with letters after their name!) and their purpose is to advance the ongoing body of work within the discipline. These articles might present original research data and findings, or take a position on a key question within the field. They can be difficult to read, because their intended audience is other experts and academics, but they are at the top of the line when it comes to authoritative information.

Searching library databases

This four minute video tutorial shows you the fastest way to find articles from PCC Library databases, using the EBSCOHost databases from the Articles tab.

For more tips on selecting effective search terms, watch this three minute video:  Brainstorming keywords

Search Strategy Overview

1. Use quotation marks around two or more words in a search term to locate them as an exact phrase.

2. Break up your question into separate keywords and use different boxes for each idea.

3. Brainstorm synonyms and related concepts and include them in your search using OR.

4. Use an asterisk (*) to locate root words that have different endings.

  • will bring back child, childs, children, childrens, childhood

  • will bring back meditate, meditation, meditators, meditative

Library Databases for environmental issues research