Databases for Literature Searches

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  • Numerous electronically accessible databases for literature searches exist. Among the most important in the social and behavioral sciences are PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts (Sociofile), Dissertation Abstracts, and ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center). There are many others. Because no database is exhaustive, researchers should generally research their topic in several. The chief advantages of electronic searches are speed and specificity. First, speed: Searches that took days in print versions of sources, such as Dissertation Abstracts, take only minutes when conducted electronically. Specificity is more important: One can combine multiple criteria for defining the topic of a search and thus efficiently zero in on the subject of interest.

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