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STHS 200: History of Modern Science and Technology

Subject Database

Subject databases cover a specific discipline and provide the widest range of access to scholarly sources (articles, books, chapters in books). They are used for in-depth research. History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (HSTM)  is an example of a subject database. 

General Database Search Tips

Try these strategies to become a better, more efficient searcher.  

  • Build your search vocabulary -- keep a running list of key words, phrases, concepts, synonyms, and any related terms or ideas that you find.
  • Use advanced search features -- narrow your search with "AND," expand your search with "OR," or search in specified fields (i.e., author, title, publication, abstract).
  • Use search limits -- control the types of results you get (academic journals? language?) and how they are displayed (date? relevance?) so that you're finding sources that are most relevant to your assignment or project.
  • Try multiple searches and evaluate your results -- try to figure out why you got the results you did, and adjust your search until you get closer to results you can use.
  • Use database descriptors -- once you find an article that looks good, see what descriptors or "subject headings" were assigned to it in the database. You can use these to search only for articles that have the same descriptors attached.