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WGS 2123-Intro Women's & Gender Studies: Search Tips

Database Search Tips

  1. Be prepared with synonyms in case your original search produces no results. If the database offers a link to a thesaurus or subject terms tab, use it to locate additional or related words for your search terms.
  2. Pay attention to search tips or help screens provided by each database. Take the time to learn how to use the tool - it will help you to avoid frustration!
  3. Remember that most databases allow for Boolean Searching (see the video in this guide). Use and to narrow, or to expand, not to exclude. Truncation is also useful for bringing back all relevant results. For example, type counsel* to bring back documents containing the words counsel, counseling, counselor...
  4. Review the database search screen for a Thesaurus or Subject Terms tab or link.
  5. Review articles, the references with this article, look for sections listing key words or subject terms, and relationships to your focus on the topic.


Depending on the database, it may offer a variety of ways to limit your results:

  • Full Text
  • Scholarly or Peer Reviewed
  • Publication  or Document Type (journal articles, book reviews, reports)
  • Published Date

For articles that are not available in full text, use the InterLibrary Loan service.

Controlled Vocabulary

Most databases use a controlled vocabulary to organize information and make browsing more efficient and specific to chosen terms. When building your search string, consider keywords, synonyms or related terms. When searching for information about an author's work, consider combining the author's name and a keyword from the work's title. As some databases may or may not have articles on your topic, consider searching multiple databases simultaneously. EBSCO offers an integrated search, which will search all of the NSU subscribed  EBSCO databases at once. See video on this page for an illustration.

The Library Discovery system will search databases and the library collection as well as worldwide libraries simultaneously when using the "Everything" tab.

Combine or group terms or concepts using the Boolean operator "AND" to refine your search string:  gender AND self-perception or try the search string: Pollack AND only . Check to see if the database offers a Thesaurus or a Subject Terms tab or link. For instance, the database Academic Search Premier offers a "Subject Terms" tab, and the MLA International Directory database features a "Thesaurus" tab or "Names as Subjects" tab. Enter terms in the Browsing box to see how the database recognizes them.

Example search terms:

  • benevolent sexism
  • businesswomen AND mentoring
  • domestic abuse
  • femininity OR feminism
  • feminism AND mass media
  • female sexuality
  • female relationships in the workplace OR sex role in the work environment
  • gender roles AND marriage
  • gender AND aging
  • gender AND self esteem
  • gender identity in education
  • gender identity law and legislation
  • mass media AND women
  • marriage equality
  • reproductive rights
  • sexual orientation
  • women AND politics
  • Women personnel AND military
  • sexual harassment AND military
  • same-sex marriage


Listed below is a sampling of periodicals with information about Women's and Gender studies. Search by publication title using the Library Discovery system's  "Everything" tab and "Advanced Search" option. For additional periodicals, look for a "Publications" tab featured in many of the EBSCO databases or check the JSTOR database, "Advanced Search" for its "Journal Filter" and narrow by discipline or journal. (EX. Feminist & Women's Studies OR Gender Studies)

  • Black Scholar (peer-reviewed)
  • Affilia: Journal of Women & Social Work (peer-reviewed)
  • Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography (peer-reviewed)
  • Gender & Education (peer-reviewed)
  • Gender Issues (peer-reviewed)
  • Journal of Gender Studies (peer-reviewed)
  • Men & Masculinities (peer-reviewed)
  • Psychology of Women Quarterly (peer-reviewed)
  • Sex roles (peer-reviewed)
  • Studies in Gender & Sexuality (peer-reviewed)
  • NWSA Journal (peer-reviewed)
  • Revista Artemis (peer-reviewed)
  • Journal of Women's Health & Gender-Based Medicine (peer-reviewed)
  • Journal of Women in Culture & Society (peer-reviewed)
  • Journal of Women's History (peer-reviewed)
  • Gender, Work & Organization (peer-reviewed)
  • Gender & History (peer-reviewed)
  • Feminist Formations (peer-reviewed)
  • Gender & Behaviour (peer-reviewed)
  • Sexualities (peer-reviewed)
  • Feminist Review (peer-reviewed)
  • Feminist Studies (peer-reviewed)
  • Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies (peer-reviewed)
  • Women (peer-reviewed)
  • Women's Studies Journal (peer-reviewed)
  • Women's Studies Quarterly (peer-reviewed)
  • Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources (peer-reviewed)
  • Women's Studies International Forum (peer-reviewed)
  • Women's Studies in Communication (peer-reviewed)
  • Women & Politics (peer-reviewed)

Boolean Operators - Tutorial

Searching Multiple Databases

YouTube video created by NSU Libraries on how to search multiple EBSCOhost databases simultaneously.