Working on a topic which may require the use of specialized discipline databases. Some of these databases are fulltext, e.g Education Research Complete while others are abstract only Criminal Justice Abstracts, Pubmed.
When using the databases, note scope and coverage. Most public administration journals are indexed in Business Source Complete. JSTOR also contains a number of Public Administration Journals, but the available fulltext issues are often embargoed for the last 5 years. If you have an interdisciplinary topic, it may be covered in other databases, so be sure to think about how a discipline might approach your topic and what specific language the discipline uses to descripe its contents. JSTOR contains scholarly articles conly; Academic Search Complete and ProQuest contain multiple formats
1. Design your search strategy.
2. Choose a database.
3. Search. Note number of results.
4. Search too broad, narrow your search. Identify additional keywords and/or qualifiers.
5. Research is a process. Be ready to refine search with additional keywords or another search strategy.
Search boxes are set up to assume you are using “and” for your terms. Ability to add rows and within a line string terms with the same operator. For example, you might have youth or adolescent or adolescence on one line. Second and third concepts would go on the next two lines.
Look for a controlled vocabulary which allows searching by descriptor, the subject headings assigned to the article. There is usually a thesaurus of that vocabulary.
One way to find more sources is to follow the references in a publication. If you can find a chapter in a textbook on your topic, often there will be valuable references that you can mine to find additional references. Once you find these references you can track additional sources. This snowball method of research is one way to find relevant sources.