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An instructional guide for the JSTOR database


Here are a few helpful tips for getting the most from your JSTOR search:

1.  Use the Advanced Search

The most efficient way to search JSTOR is to start with an advanced search.  While the basic keyword search is quick and easy, it has a tendency to return a high volume of results to sort through.  My example search for 'liberation theology' resulted in over 14,000 entries, and even with the assistance of the sorting and limiting options in the basic search, it would be a challenge to get those results to a more manageable number.  The advance search gives you two search boxes to work with, and lets you decided which fields will be searched.  There are also plenty of limits you can set in the advance search that are not available in basic keyword.

2.  Search All Content

Although it seems likely contrary advice to the first tip, it is important to consider all content in JSTOR.  While it is very convenient to have JSTOR deliver only search results that are available in PDF full text (which is the default setting); it provides an incomplete picture of the research available on your topic.  Articles cited in JSTOR but not available in full text can be found in other places, such as other databases, Barbour Library's print collection, or through interlibrary loan. 

3.  Export Your Citations

Collecting citation information as you find your sources is a good habit to get into, and JSTOR helps by providing some export options.  If you have a RefWorks account and you are signed on, you can easily export JSTOR citations directly to your account.  You can also export to other citation programs such as EndNote and ProCite.

4.  Let Google Scholar Search JSTOR For You

If you are already familiar with Google Scholar or Google searching in general, you may find it easier to find JSTOR articles with 'back door' access from Google Scholar.  Take a look at the example below:

The Google Scholar search results include articles that can be found in JSTOR.  If you are using a computer on campus for your searching, or if you are logged on to JSTOR remotely, you can click on the appropriate article in your Google Scholar search results and immediately gain access.