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Finding Academic/Scholarly Journal Articles in the LLSH

How to Find Article in LLSH Databases

Keywords, also called search terms, are the words that you enter into the database search boxes. They are the words used in everyday life to describe the topic. Without the right keywords, you may have difficulty finding the articles that you need.

keywords selection process:

  • Identifying the main concepts of your topic:
  • brainstorming synonyms and antonyms that could also be used to describe your topic
  • NEVER type more than one or two words into a search box. Use Advanced Search for more search boxes to add a keyword
  • To expand search results, go to the end of keywords and place an asterisk (*)  to find all variations such as the plural and adjectival forms:




Search Results Lists

  • Your search results page will display 10 search results per page, by default. 
  • Search results are displayed in reverse chronological order - the newest ones are listed first.
  • To the left of each search result you'll see an icon telling you what kind of document it is - article from an academic journal, article from a magazine, conference proceedings, case study, etc.

Filter by a publication date range.

  • Filter by scholarly (peer-reviewed) (gets rid of magazine and newspaper articles, conference proceedings, etc.)
  • Filter by full-text (gets rid of search results that aren't in full-text in this database) The title of the article is a link to the Article Information page.

Boolean operators allow you to connect search terms together to get more focused results. The most common are AND, OR and NOT:

Operator What does it do? Examples
  • Narrows search results.
  • Retrieves results that contain all the terms and excludes those that contain just one of the terms.

youth AND drugs

child AND development AND play

  • Expands search results.
  • Retrieves results that contain either or all search terms; OR is usually used to search for synonyms or related words.

native OR aboriginal

job OR career OR profession

  • Narrow search results by excluding one or more words.
  • Retrieves the records that contain the first term but eliminates any records that contain the term which is entered after NOT. It should be used with caution as it may eliminate relevant records.

depression NOT economic

crime AND London NOT Ontario

When you use library databases, you will often get too many results.

In most databases, the left-hand column of the search results page has many filters/limiters to narrow and improve the relevancy of results.

The categories of filters and limiters include:

  • Source Type, such as print book, academic journal, or eBook
  • Subject headings, which describe the content of the item
  • Language of the publication
  • Geographic location such as country, province, state or city
  • Library database where the item is located.

relevancy of results.


The library has many different databases and most have this option. This is an example of the field drop-down menu in another database:

In library databases, subject headings are a type of standardized “tag” used to index and organize resources on the same topic, regardless of the words used in the actual text. Searching by subject headings is the most precise way to search article databases.

Also referred to as subject terms or descriptors, subject headings vary depending on the database. A list of subject headings is typically provided within the thesaurus , which can be used to begin a subject search.

For example, ERIC has a link to its Thesaurus that provides the option to search or browse by keyword