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PHYS 047 / AMST 099 / ER&M 089 / HIST 059: Asian Americans and STEM: Find Articles

An interdisciplinary course guide highlighting resources for your projects.

Boolean It!

Boolean Search allows you to customize how you search for things in academic databases (and in many search engines, like Google). It's based on a few key pieces of syntax: AND, OR, NOT, (), and "". Notice that these operator words are all uppercase — that's the convention in many tools.

AND and ""

AND operator in Boolean

"Asian Americans" AND STEM

When you put two terms in the search box, AND is usually implied: Here, we want both STEM and the phrase "Asian Americans" to appear in the results. Searching "Asian Americans" as a phrase will ensure that we don't see extraneous things where the words are not next to each other.

I could also add quotation marks around the single abbreviation STEM if I noticed that the results were stemming the word — stemming refers to looking up variations of the root. In this case, STEM, stems, stem, stemming, stemmed, and so on will match. Usually, quotation marks around a single word force the database to search verbatim.

 

OR

OR operator in Boolean

Let's say that multiple terms are in use for something or I want to look up a term and its synonyms. Here, I am looking up AAPI by both the abbreviation and the spelled-out term (but I decided to parse the quotation marks differently and use an AND operator between them.)

AAPI OR ("Asian Americans" AND "Pacific Islanders")

Notice that I added () to the search. This helps the database know that I am nesting operators, and it works similarly to how the order of operations works when doing mathematics. 

 

NOT

NOT operator in Boolean

In this example, I'm looking for information about Asian Americans and tenure, but I don't want any of the results to talk about Humanities faculty. (Note: If I weren't using an example, I would actually just look for the disciplines I want instead of using the NOT operator.) Another place where this is very useful? Google Scholar, where everything seems to be about clinical trials. If you see many results that you don't want, finding a common noun phrase or term in those results is the best way to brainstorm what to take out.

("Asian Americans" AND tenure) NOT Humanities

Google and Google Scholar use a minus sign connected to the word/phrase instead of NOT:

("Asian Americans" AND tenure) -Humanities

Useful Database Features

In the databases listed below, here are some useful things to keep in mind:

  • Are you searching different databases? Do ... the databases all seem to have the same color scheme and logo? ProQuest and EBSCO are our two main database aggregators — we buy abstract and full-text databases from them, and these are then hosted on the provider's platform. Some databases were created by these aggregators, and other databases are created by third parties (often, scholarly societies) and we pick the platform as the host for the search content. You can search multiple databases on the same platform at the same time (exception: ProQuest's government documents databases are kinda on their own...) by clicking "All Databases" or "Choose Databases" — the language may be slightly different depending on the database.
  • Google Scholar and Wikipedia can be great for getting a broad overview of what you are looking for: terminology, who is publishing, the date ranges of content, and so on. Databases cut out extraneous noise, especially the ones that are focused on a specific field (like the ADS in Astronomy, or PsycInfo in Psychology, or INSPIRE in high-energy physics) or a range of fields (the Web of Science, Scopus). Because there is human curation in databases, you can do a more fine-tuned search and hone in on specific topics, either while you are searching or when you are looking at the results.
  • The videos on this tab show you how to find databases. There is also a generic search tool called Articles+. If you are overwhelmed looking for databases, or you just don't know where to start, hop over to the Yale University Library research guides. Librarians curate these to help people in specific fields find what they need. This guide is one example.

Databases for Journal Articles in History

Subject-specific databases are a key resource for finding secondary literature, including the latest scholarly journal articles and book reviews in the field, and the databases of historical literature that may be especially useful this semester are:

  • America: History and Life: Provides historical coverage of the United States and Canada and indexes over 2000 historical journals. A key resource if you are searching for historical scholarship related to your research project.
  • History of Science, Technology, and Medicine: Provides coverage of the history of science, technology and medicine and allied historical fields.
  • Historical Abstracts: Provides historical coverage of the world, not including the United States and Canada, from the 15th century to the present. Indexes thousands of journals in multiple languages.

Searching these databases will allow you to check for the latest scholarly articles, reviews of books, citations to book chapters, and more in a wide array of historical journals. Please note: the full text of articles will not always be available in these databases. If you see the "YaleLinks" icon instead of a PDF, click on the icon to discover whether we have online access to the article.

Tutorial Videos

Databases for Gender and Race Studies