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Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies graduate research

A guide for graduate students doing research in GWSS

Where to search for articles


To get to databases, go to the Libraries’ home page and click on databases at the bottom of the Search It box. Databases will find journal, magazine, and newspaper articles (and in some cases other materials like book chapters, dissertations, conference presentations, pamphlets, and more).  

These are some databases that work very well for researching in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. Because GWSS is an interdisciplinary field, you may need to search in different databases ranging from general to sociology or literature or education. We have many more databases than the ones listed here. If you would like help finding the best one, ask a librarian!

Here are some subject area databases you might find useful:

Other useful databases:

How to search

Most databases, although they look different, search in similar ways. You can search the databases in many ways to find relevant research, including:

Search Terms

  • If the database has a thesaurus, use it to help you find appropriate subject terms.
  • Use a keyword search for the specific subject you are interested in (race, professional development, leadership, etc...).

Constructing your search

  • Use OR between search terms when you want to find either word, AND when you want both.
  • Try truncating keywords using asterisks: ethnograph* to get ethnography or ethnographic.
  • Put phrases in quotes: “case study” “grounded theory”.

Search Limits

  • Use limits to help find the specific kind of article you want. For example, PsycINFO lets you limit by population or type of study (e.g. quantitative or qualitative). 
  • If you need empirical research articles and are having trouble finding them, try adding the words: “research methods”, data, results, discussion, study (not all of these words will appear in every article, so try using just a few or combining them in different ways.) 
  • Try adding a keyword for a specific type of methodology -- quantitative, qualitative, ethnography, "case study", etc…
  • Most databases have a limit for scholarly or peer-reviewed articles.


Here is an example of a search using PsycINFO. The first line searches for "cognit*". The asterisk allows it to be a longer word, so we will get cognitive, cognition, etc. On the second line, aging OR gerontology means that it will find sources with EITHER of those words.

PsycInfo search

Use Search It

Search It is a tool that you can use to search across the library collection. This video (2:20) gives a brief introduction to using Search It.

Getting the articles

Many of the articles you find will be available online. If you don’t see the full text on the database you are searching, use the Get It button to see if the full text of the article is available through another source. If you find a citation to something that we don’t own, most of the time we can borrow it from another library. Please allow yourself enough time to do this! It takes up to 2-5 business days for articles and 5-7 business days for books (or longer if you are off campus). Click on “Request an Interlibrary Loan” on the library home page or “Request from Interlibrary Loan” from the Get It menu. For more information, see our Interlibrary Services page.

Get It in Psyc Info. Alt text reads: Use Get It to see if we have electronic access to the article. If not, the Get It menu will give you an Interlibrary Loan option


Get It Interlibrary Loan example