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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Public Management and Administration: Articles, Studies, Data

Database Searching - Tips

The Library's databases allow you to search for articles that analyse or critique topics.

Combine broad terms with specific terms for best results.

In order to find the most targeted articles, combine two or more search terms that will include BOTH the broader subject and the narrower aspect, angle or specific thesis topic.

For Example:

public education and charter schools

Search for your terms in the Abstract, Title or Subject.

Try getting even more precise results by narrowing your search results to find your terms in the abstract (summary) of the article or the title of the article. This ensures that your terms are the focus of the article, not just mentioned within the text of the article.

Allow for various endings and plurals

Typing a star or asterisk at the end of the stem of a word allows the database to search for ending variants including plural and singular. For example:

educat* finds: educator, educators, education, educating, educate.

NOTE: Be careful to think through the stem you want. For example, auto* will retrieve automotive, automobile and automation and automatic. Type "automo*" instead for articles on automobiles.Use as much of the root or stem as is feasible.

...AND ANOTHER THING!: Though most databases use the asterisk at the end of a stem, some databases use other symbols NexisUni uses an exclamation mark (!). You can look up the correct symbol for each database on that database's help page by searching for the term "truncation", or simply ask a librarian.

Limit your search to academic journals only.

Many databases allow you to limit your search to specific types of journals. If appropriate, look for the term academic journal or scholarly journal and limit your search to those types of journals only.


The Library subscribes to many databases. Some are multidisciplinary and others are subject specific. Below is a list of more general databases. If your topic is subject specific, search both the databases that specialize in that particular subject as well as the more general databases. The Library's homepage offers a link to databases listed by this subject here.

Think Tanks