4.6 Subject-focused Indexes

When you are doing in-depth research and need to find a comprehensive set of scholarly articles in a particular subject area, the best finding tool will almost always be an index focused on that subject. Here are a few examples of subject-focused indexes to give you a better idea of what they can cover:

Design & Applied Arts Index
DAAI is an international index that provides resources on topics related to design and applied arts such as advertising, product design, and architecture. It contains citations and abstracts of articles, news items, and reviews created from 1973 to the present.

GeoRef Database
GeoRef indexes thousands of journals on topics related to geoscience, including engineering geology, environmental geology, geochemistry, and others. With resources dating back to 1665, this index covers a wide range of topics and time periods.

Sociological Abstracts
Sociological Abstracts provides full-text access to resources on topics related to sociology such as family and marriage, social change, and culture. This index covers thousands of journals dating back to 1952 and includes articles, book chapters, and conference papers.

These subject-focused indexes offer discipline-specific tools to help you search, sort, and focus your results. For example, history databases may let you search by the date an event occurred, whereas chemistry databases may let you search by chemical compound. You will want to familiarize yourself with the indexes in your major or that support your classes in order to access authoritative scholarly articles for your various class assignments and projects.

Interdisciplinary Topics

When you’re doing in-depth research, you may need to search more than one subject-focused index. If you’re researching an interdisciplinary topic, such as marketing new products to college students and influencing their buying behavior, you’ll want to search for your topic in more than one index. In this example, you’d probably want to search a business-focused index (such as ABI/INFORM) and maybe also an index focused on sociology or psychology (such as Sociological Abstracts or PsycInfo). When you search more than one subject-focused index, you will often find articles with different viewpoints, keywords, or subject emphases in each index. Talk with your instructor or a librarian if you need help identifying the right indexes for your topic.


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