Skip to main content

FYS: Political Ethics: An Oxymoron?: Key Databases and Articles

Research and Library Information for Tim O'Neill's first year seminar.

Choosing and Using Library Databases

Smith Library Center subscribes to various databases that, when searched, will yield many articles and essays on the broad subject of political ethics.  Articles are constantly added to these databases.  A keyword search will yield many academic articles.  WorldCat, Academic Search Complete, Political Science Complete and JSTOR may be particularly useful for research on this topic.

  • What is in a database?    What subjects are being covered?  What type of materials (journals, books, book chapters, dissertations,) are included?  Check "Help."
  • What does it search?  Can you search by keyword, subject, author, title.  What does default search mean?  How do you switch to other types of searching?  Is there a drop-down box for subject searching?
  • How does it search?  Connected by OR (any of the words), or AND (all of the words).  OR will broaden a search; and will narrow a search.
  • Should I search by keyword or subject?  Start with a keyword search. Keyword allows you to search any word or phrase you can think of, and will look in all fields of the record, yet  many of these items may not be relevant to your search.  Then scroll down, and click on the Subject terms listed for that item to find more sources, which are yielding fewer but more relevant results.
  • Does it search controlled vocabulary?  Most databases offer the option of searching by controlled  subject terms .  These terms are collected in an online thesaurus.
  • What if I can too many results?  Narrow your search by selecting specific dates, language, publication types, and more.  Another quick way is to type more terms in your search box.  Add more concepts.  Also look at the controlled vocabulary (subject headings) assigned to each record page.


Every database is somewhat different, but most allow you to search by AuthorTitleSubject or Keyword. Sometimes, an help guide for the database is available by clicking on the More Info button in the record for the database.  If you find yourself having problems in searching a database, don't hesitate to ask a librarian for assistance.

Find more info on databases on the Research Hub.

What's in them?

Who writes them?

What do they look like?

Who reads them?

What are their advantages?

What are their disadvantages?


(This chart courtesy of Loyola Marymount University William H. Hannon Library and is used with permission.)

What are Scholarly, Popular, and Trade Publications?


  • Inform and/or entertain the general public.
  • Written in plain language.
  • Magazines like Time or Rolling Stone; or newspapers like the L.A. Times.


  • Disseminate research and academic discussion among professionals in a discipline.  
  • Journals such as Journal of Applied Communication Research or Nature.
  • Usually peer-reviewed or refereed.


  • Allows practitioners in specific industries to share market and production information that improves their businesses.‚Äč
  • Specialized content for groups of professionals like economists, librarians, carpenters, or designers, for example.

Courtesy of ...

Loading ...