Use a database to efficiently find academic sources related to science in the news or to find academic sources for a research assignment. Then go to the next page (Reading Academic Articles) for advice on reading scientific literature.
Library databases store information about books, journals, and other media. K-State Libraries has over 300 databases which can be filtered by subject or content. We subscribe to some databases and others are freely available online. The databases listed below cover many topics in the sciences, for more specific databases (ex. civil engineering, biology) on our Databases A-Z list.
Some databases make it easy to keep up with current research. You can save a search that gets the results you want and set an alerts to get current research delivered to your inbox. Try setting up an alert with Google Scholar, Web of Science, or Scopus.
Browzine is a great tool for keeping up with current research. You can also use it to find and read journal articles. Create a Bookshelf to follow titles of interest and you will be notified anytime a new article is published.
Google Scholar is a useful tool for searching through a very broad scope of articles; however, be aware that they aren’t actually all “scholarly.” Look for the text “Get It @ KSU” instead of the usual “Get It” button to search for the full text of articles that don’t have an included PDF. It is sometimes found under the “more” link below the record.
Scopus is a good starting point for finding articles on almost any topic. Scopus is an excellent database for cited reference searching. It does not contain full text articles, but you can get access to full text by using the Get It button.
Web of Science Core Collection
Search by keyword, subject, author, etc. for articles in over 8,000 journals, or do a “cited reference” search to see how frequently and where an article has been cited.
Searching Tips: Databases
Searching these resources is different from searching the Internet. K-State Libraries pays to subscribe to the databases; they are not found in an online search.
- Keywords: Break your topic into key concepts; list relevant terminology/keywords and synonyms.
- AND = both concepts must be present, limits the search (Ex. stormwater AND management)
- OR = great for synonyms, expands the search (Ex. "universal design" OR "inclusive design")
- NOT = exclude an unrelated term, limits the search (Ex. "nigel coates" NOT "book review")
- Advanced search: Search fields like journal title, publication date, institution, etc.
- Subject headings: Use the language/terminology of a database by looking for a Thesaurus, Subject Headings, Subjects, Keywords, or Descriptors.
- Truncation: Includes all possible endings: teen* searches for "teen", "teens", "teenager", "teenagers", etc.
- Wildcard: Replaces any character: wom?n searches for "women" or "woman."
- Help: Click help or for database-specific instructions.