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Social Ecology 195W - Field Study Writing Seminar (Kumar Section) - Spring 2022: Conducting Research

Finding Journal Articles and Using Databases


There are many ways to find information - but first you will want to be able to state your goals and information directives.  One point of departure may be the Social Ecology Subject Guides (one corresponding to each academic department) or to other relevant Subject Guides.  Additional guides that may be helpful may be Environmental Sciences, Education, Medicine, Sociology, News and Newspapers, Government Information (for US, CA, Orange County, or International), etc.


It is critical that you establish criteria to help evaluate the sources of information.  The following criteria are helpful in doing that:

    1.   Audience

    2.   Purpose

    3.   Objectivity

    4.   Currency

    5.   Coverage

    6.   Accuracy

    7.   Authority

    8.   Relevancy

    9.  Ease of use

FINDING JOURNAL ARTICLES AND USING DATABASES - you may want to consider using some of the interdisciplinary and general databases identified on the Databases to Get You Started list.  To determine whether you can expect full text content or if the UCI Libraries have the articles, use the Get-at-UC icon, which will take you to the holdings in UC Library Search

FINDING BOOKS & BOOK CHAPTERS - use UC Library Search - a discovery catalog for all 10 campuses - You can conduct an advanced search and restrict to the UCI Library Catalog (across the top) and use the pull-down menus in each box to enter your search strategy - may be easiest to search by keyword to retrieve items in title, subject headings or table of contents/notes; or you can use the side bar to retrieve  books and book chapters and even restrict to "available online" - but make sure that you click on ADD FILTERS

SPECIALIZED DATABASES - the following databases cover scholarly journals, but also some of them index and abstract books, book chapters, dissertations and theses, government information and occasionally include some websites.  Take advantage of searching those on a common platform together when appropriate or the specialized features to make your search more refined and relevant.  Selective databases that may be appropriate may include: (* all on Proquest/CSA platform & can be searched either independently or together: ** all on Ebsco platform & can be searched togehter)

  1. PsycINFO* - comprehensive indexing of journal & dissertation literature in all areas of psychology - social, developmental, health, clinical, forensic, etc - advanced search strategy allows for demographic focus
  2. Education Source** - fulltext education database from early childhood to lifelong learning, higher education and related areas
  3. ERIC** - another Education database - good for after school programs - access to the EDs currently restricted
  4. Sociological Abstracts* - broad social sciences content that provides theoretical frameworks, methods and sociological research
  5. Social Services Abstracts* - particularly helpful for coverage of non-profit sectors
  6. Criminal Justice Abstracts Full Text - extended sociological coverage, richness is for fulltext
  7.  Criminology: A Sage Fulltext Collection - one publisher's (Sage) output in this subject area
  8. Legal Source - legal database of journal articles, law reviews, etc
  9. HeinOnline - fulltext law reviews from vol. 1 #1 to last issue that is available under contract
  10. PAIS International* - public affairs and related content; journal literature plus more and global in scope
  11. Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Database* - the environmental sciences & policy covered via many sub-disciplines - excellent for impact and risk assessments - very global in coverage - particularly strong in food disparities/food science
    1. Sustainability Sciences Abstracts
  12. PubMed - clinical medicine, health related issues
  13. Academic Search Complete** - highly interdisciplinary in scope with a lot of fulltext coverage
  14. Web of Science (incorporates the most cited social sciences content as well)
  15. Scopus - a multidisciplinary coverage of journals with intensity in sciences & other STEM fields but also contains social sciences
  16. Urban Studies Abstracts* - covers urban issues & policy
  17. Web of Science - 3 parts of the database correspond to citation indexes for the Sciences (1900+), Social Sciences (1900+) and Arts/Humanities (1976+) - you can deselect which parts are not relevant and determine the dates that are most relevant
  18. NexisUni (for News and Legal content)
  19. Opposing Viewpoints - Collection of topic overviews, viewpoints, full-text news and academic journal articles, primary sources, and other multimodal resources such as statistics, images, media files, etc.
  20. Global Information in Context - Global Issues in Context focuses on broad issues, such as war, genocide, terrorism, human rights, poverty, famine, globalization, world trade, nuclear proliferation, and global warming, as well as more specific events and topics in the news that are related to these broader issues.
  21. SSRN - technical report literature from many social science outlets
  22. Google Scholar - covers journal literature & books/book chapters - use sidebar to restrict search; difficult to determine inclusions
  23. CQ Researcher - Each report analyzes a current social, political, and/or economic issue. Includes a pro/con section which presents different perspectives on the same topic.
  24. many other specialized databases, including news/media coverage, business sources - consult the News & Newspaper Guide and Business Guide for appropriate resources

SELECTIVE REFERENCE SOURCES - there are many reference sources that will assist you with background information, some basic bibliographic references and factual information.  It is suggested that you use these resources to verify dates, data, information about individuals, etc.  Also consult Liaison Librarians Julia or Nicole or schedule a consultation with them.

  1. Gale Virtual Reference - the largest online package of references - particularly strong in the humanities and social sciences - contains nearly 500 resources
  2. Sage e-Reference - many handbooks, encyclopedias, directories that are strong in the social & behavioral sciences



Government Information & Data Resources

You may want to consider resources that provide data for a certain geography such as local demography, state of California, US or federal documents.  Documents can be searched in Google or UC Library Search.  Reach out for assistance if needed.

 Demographic & Census Data - in order to see what the census is for various population centers or targets, consult these sources:

  1. California Statistical Abstract
  2. Digest of Educational Statistics
  3. Condition of Education
  4. American Factfinder

Liaison Librarian

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Julia Gelfand
Office: Science Library 228

Phone: 949-824-4971


Use Library Search

Find books, government documents, maps and more ...

How to use UC Library Search? Contact Librarian

Following APA Style Manual

The Publication Manual of American Psychological Association, 7th edition,2020, is the current style manual to follow. It is available at each library's reference collection at BF76.7 .P83 2020.  There are other tools that help support the manual noted here with more examples of how to cite different information sources.  Please consult often!!