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Dissertation Research—Planning, Researching, Publishing

This guide was created to help GWU doctoral students in researching and writing their dissertation

Which Library Database Do I Use?

GW Libraries provides you with access to hundreds of databases.  
Keep in mind that no one database will search all publications. To be comprehensive, a search must be done in several databases. Ask a 
librarian for advice if you are unsure of databases which best fit your topic.

Two types of databases are useful when searching for scholarly research on your topic:
General or Multidisciplinary Databases - these cover a wide range of subject matter in both popular and scholarly periodicals. They serve as a great place to begin research or for a general topic.  
The following examples can be accessed on the library's A - Z Database List

  • Academic Search Complete

  • Google Scholar

  • ProQuest Research Library

(2) Subject-specific Databases - These discipline-based databases only search journals in that field of study. Below are some examples, but a list of all available subjects can be found on the GW Libraries page, Databases by Subject Areas.

  • ABI/INFORM - a great starting place for business research; includes articles from magazines, trade publications and scholarly journals

  • ERIC - the premier database covering literature on education

  • PsycINFO - includes research in field of psychology, as well as information about the psychological aspects of related disciplines.

Database Search Strategies

In addition to using your topic as a search term, you might consider adding one of the keywords below to focus your search results on a specific research methodology.

Select one or more of these to use in your database searching:

  • Action Research

  • Assessment

  • Case stud*

  • Ethnograph*

  • Focus Group

  • Interview

  • Phenomenolog*

  • Qualitative

  • Quantitative

TIP:  Check the document type; Look for these terms:

  • research review

  • meta-analysis

  • literature review

  • information analysis

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