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STAS325 - Technology within contemporary society (SP 2016 L02/B02)

Why articles?

Journal articles are often very specific, in-depth discussions of research. They assume the reader already has some background knowledge of the research area, and so can feel like a continuation of an ongoing discussion.

In general, writing and publishing an article does not take as long as for a book, so articles reflect current (at the time of publication) research.

Review articles are a useful type of article, because they identify and discuss many journal articles on one topic. Bibliographies of review articles are a good starting point for finding other articles.

Finding articles

General tool - the "Big Search Box" - Library Homepage

The "Big Search Box" is used to find articles and books (as well as journals, government publications, and other media resources) that are available within the University of Calgary Library system.

Search Strategies

  • Search with at least 2 concepts. This will focus your search. For example, instead of human cloning, try human cloning ethics. Think of different words to express your topic and try them if the results aren't as expected, e.g. self-driving cars / autonomous vehicle
  • The keywords and concepts may be more specific than for a book search, e.g. self-driving car privacy
  • Avoid "natural language" searching (so not: what are the pros and cons of wearable technology?)
  • Scan results to find new keywords and re-do the search with them if they are more relevant
  • Looking for a specific article? Search for the title of the article in the "Big Search Box"


  • Focus on the left column of results, and click More results at the bottom of the column. This takes you to our Summon database with other results.
  • To isolate journal articles, remember to use the filters along the left to un-check conference proceedings, etc.
  • Click the "Full text online" link to get to the article
  • Too many? Try adding a word
  • Too few? Try replacing a word with a synonym
  • Irrelevant? Try replacing a word with a synonym; try different words altogether; find one relevant result, and re-do the search with keywords from that result


Specific tools - databases

Databases generally cover only journals and magazines, and so are more focused than the Library homepage.

Search strategies - All the search strategies for the "Big Search Box" apply, plus databases have more powerful search features:

  • Truncation: Instead of typing all the variations of a root word, use the asterisk (*) to find them. Place it in the spot where the word will start to vary. For example, environment* will return results that include environment, environmental, environmentally, etc.
  • AND: combine two different keywords/concepts with AND to return results that must include both keywords. This will decrease the number of results, and may increase the relevance. In the databases below, AND may be used within a search box, for example, environment* AND technology, or you may add several search boxes and place a different keyword in each.
  • OR: combine two synonyms using OR to return results that include either synonym. This will increase the number of results. In the databases below, OR should be used within a single search box.
  • Limiters: allow you to limit your results by date, type of article, subject, etc.


  • Similar to Summon, the results screen will allow filtering of results
  • Scan the abstract to see if the article will be of use
  • To read the article, look for a pdf icon, or text indicating a link to full text - this is different in each database!
  • Mark (usually with a checkbox or folder) results of interest and email them to yourself to keep track of them. Alternatively, import them to your bibliographic management software if you are using one.
  • Too many? Try adding a word with AND
  • Too few? Try replacing a word with a synonym
  • Irrelevant? Try replacing a word with a synonym; try different words altogether; find one relevant result, and re-do the search with keywords from that result


Suggested comprehensive databases - these cover both sciences and social sciences


Suggested other databases


  • ALL OTHER DATABASES! - if you need specific research about the other aspects of your topic, find other subject-specific databases here.
    • Tip: since these databases contain research for professionals and academics in those areas, the sources will be very specific. To get resources discussing issues around the topic, try adding terms such as ethics, controversy, moral, morals, security, safety, privacy, etc., depending on your topic
    • Tip: unless specified, stick to the Best Bets in the subject listings below
    • Technology and the Body: Engineering or Medicine
    • Technology and the Economy: Economics
    • Technology and Energy: Environmental Sciences or Engineering
    • Technology and the Environment: Environmental Sciences
    • Technology and Food Production: Environmental Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, or Agricola
    • Technology and Labour: Business
    • Technology and Media: Communication Studies
    • Technology and Medicine: Medicine or Philosophy
    • Technology and Security: Computer Science, Sociology, or Business
    • Technology and Social Organization: Sociology or Business
    • Technology and Transportation: Engineering

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