Databases marked with a blue lock must be accessed from either on the UC San Diego campus network or via the campus VPN.
Put some thought into choosing your search terms and consider synonyms or alternative terms. AND, OR, and NOT can be used to combine or exclude search terms. Check the subject terms listed on your results for additional words to search.
Most databases have help screens that explain how to enter keywords for the best search results.
Take advantage of additional database features where possible, such as citation formatting and limiting to academic journals.
In many databases, you will see a "PDF full text" or "HTML full text" link next to a citation. If so, clicking on the link will bring up the full text of the article.
If you don't see one of those links, you should see abutton next to each citation. If we have access to the article from another source, the link will take you to UC Library Search to show you options for getting full text.
A quick checklist:
1. Where did you find the source? Did you use a scholarly database?
2. Who is responsible for the work? Is it published by a university press or another known scholarly publisher? What are the author's credentials? Is the author a professor or other known academic or scholar?
3. Does it look like a scholarly work? Does it have footnotes and/or endnotes and/or a bibliography? What kinds of sources does it cite? Where did the author get their information? What research methodology are they using?
4. You can also use the Ulrichsweb database to confirm if a journal is peer-reviewed. An open book icon next to a journal title indicates "refereed" or peer-reviewed.
Scholarly articles are written by academics who are experts in their field and published in scholarly journals. Peer-reviewed articles are scholarly articles that have been read and vetted by other experts in the field (e.g., the author's peers) before the journal accepts them for publication.
Search tip: Use the button to link to the online full text (if available). You can also use UC Library Search to find the print version of the publication, or order a copy from another library through Interlibrary Loan when not available from the UC San Diego Library.
News sources can be particularly useful as primary sources that describe events as they unfold. They may cover sitautions or events that are newer or more specific than than one might find in scholarly articles. The Library subscribes to a number of online sources for international news.