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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.  Below are  two types of databases to use for finding scholarly research on your topic:

  1. General and 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.  Examples include:
    • Academic Search Complete
    • Google Scholar
    • ProQuest Research Library

      2.  Subject-specific Databases - These discipline-based databases only contain 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
    • PsychINFO - includes research in field of psychology, as well as information about the psychological aspects of related disciplines.

***Keep in mind that no one database will search all publications.  To be comprehensive, a search must be done in several databases.  Ask your subject librarian for advice if you are unsure of databases which best fit your topic.

Database Search Strategies

In addition to using your topic as a search term, you might consider adding one of the kewords 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 Descriptive qualitative research Generic qualitative description Oral history
Activities of daily living Descriptive qualitative stud* Grounded theory Participatory action research
Appreciative inquiry Descriptive stud* Health-related quality of life Participant observation
Assessment* Discourse analysis Hermeneutic* Phenomengraph*
Autoethnograph* Ethnograph* Interview Phenomenolog*
Biographical research Ethnomethodolog* Lived experience Qualitative
Case stud* Exploratory stud* Narrativ* Qualitative meta-synthesis
Constant comparative Field notes Naturalistic study Qualitative method*
Content analysis Field stud* Observational method* Qualitative research
Conservation analysis Focus group* Opinion* Qualitative stud*

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

  • research review
  • meta-analysis
  • literature review
  • information analysis
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