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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Media Studies: Articles

Doing a Literature Review

Searching for articles

When searching for literature relevant to your topic, using one search engine is never enough. This is specifically true for Media Studies:

  • There are no search engines aimed specifically at Media Studies, contrary to most other subject areas.
  • There is often an interdisciplinary aspect to Media Studies, crossing boundaries between the tradional subject areas. 

Scopus, Web of Science and/or Google Scholar provide a good start. They cover all subject areas, but are far from complete.

Add to these a choice of discipline specific search engines, relevant to your topic. These search engines are typically referred to as bibliographies. You can choose from disciplines like

Another good way to find articles is by following the literature references and citations from and to earlier found articles.

In the special LibGuide Searching for articles UBU LibGuide artikelen zoeken you will find all possibilities and impossibilities listed.

Scopus: multidisciplinary search for articles and book chapters, with citation data

ScopusScopus is a large search engine containing some 50 million scientific journal articles and conference proceedings. Its most important features are:

  • Multidisciplinarity: all disciplines are present, although arts and humanities still somewhat lagging
  • Contains almost exclusively material in the English language
  • Containing extensive citation information from articles (complete from 1996 onwards, but also many from older years)
  • Containing also data of (chapters of) ten of thousands of books
  • In Scopus many journals are indexed from the very first volume (sometimes even before 1900)
  • Scopus cooperates quite well with RefWorks and both offer options for integration when you have an indivual Scopus account within the UU license
  • The default order of the search results list is chronological, but you can also sort by relevance
  • All sources searched with Scopus are peer reviewed
  • search engine for patents is included

Scopus has an excellent coverage for the medical and natural sciences, technics and geosciences. Also the social sciences are well represented. Humanities is less well covered, but we are still talking about millons of articles, absolutely speaking.

Scopus offers very good options to follow the network of citations between articles.

In the special LibGuide Scopus UBU LibGuide Scopus you will find detailed information about all the possiblilites and bonuses of Scopus.

Web of Science: multidisciplinary article search, with citation data

Web of Science Web of Science is a search engine for scientific and scholarly literature in all subject areas.

For many articles, it contains the references given by the author, as well as the citations of that particular article by other authors. That way you can easily find related articles and you can also recover the impact of a major article.

  • For Sciences and Social Sciences, you will find publications from 1900, for the Humanities from 1975 onwards.
  • Citations go back in time a long way, further than in Scopus.
  • You can obtain articles quickly via the UBU-link
  • References can be saved in RefWorks and Endnote.

The special Web of Science LibGuide UBU LibGuide Web of Science (in Dutch) gives the details of the many search possibilities and extras of Web of Science.

Google Scholar: fast and with full text search

Google Scholar is a large search engine for scholarly publications. It searches primarily journal articles and, contrary to almost all other search engines, searches the full text. From Google Books the data of a large number of scientific books are included in Google Scholar. Also in this respect Google Scholar differs from classical scientific search engines such as Scopus or Web of Science.

Google Scholar's special features listed:

  • you search articles as well as (a selection of) books
  • your search is full text, so you will also find sources in which your search terms are only touched upon
  • Google Scholar does not tell you what publications are included and what publications are not: you will have to find out by trial and error
  • the journal selection is less strict than in Web of Science or Scopus: as a result you will also find non-peer reviewed material
  • the order of results is also based on the number of received citations: that is why more recent publications are harder to find; always use the menu to filter on recent years!
  • if you want to have links to Refworks you must choose this as your Bibliography Manager in the preferences
  • only if you access Google Scholar via the Utrecht University Library website you will be shown the UBUlink next to the titles

In the special Google Scholar LibGuide UBU LibGuide Google Scholar you will find all you want to know about successfully using this remarkable search engine

UBUlink: availability of publications

In your search for scholarly literature you may sometimes find the UBU-link. This link provides information about the availability of the publication via the University Library, in digital as well as in paper format.

UBUlink, quickly to the publication

In the case of digital publications the UBU-link provides direct access. For print publications the UBU-link gives information about availability at Utrecht University Library. Sometimes the UBU-link is in the form of a red button, but it can also be a text link.

The library does not have it. What to do now?

  1. Was the UBUlink wrong? Search our WorldCat (by title of the book or print journal) and/or the list of journals (seach by journal title) to be really sure it is not available. 
  2. Is a book maybe online available free of charge? Check Google Books. Is a journal article maybe online available free of charge? Check Google Scholar (the links in the right hand column).
  3. Does any other Dutch library hold the publication? Material from other Dutch libraries can be requested through WorldCat by clicking on the title of the item. Under "Availability" then "Libraries Worldwide" you will find the "Interlibrary Request" button. By clicking that you will be directed to a form where you can make your request. This service is not free of charge. More information about borrowing from other libraries you can find at the library website. Borrowing from other Dutch libraries is free for Dutch students: have a library card made and pick up and return the books yourself. Or let somebody you know in that city make photocopies of your book or journal.
  4. Should this publication be in the collection of Utrecht University Library? Submit a purchase suggestion, or contact the subject specialist.
  5. Mail the author: ask the author to send you the article. On publishers' sites and in databases such as Scopus you will often find the email address of the author.
  6. Twitter to the rescue! This may work for articles from journals to which the UU does not subscribe and that are not Open Acess. Send out a tweet with the URL and add the hashtag #icanhazpdf. Chances are good you will get into contact with someone able to legally send you a (PDF ot other) version of the text.
  7. Does a foreign library hold the publication? Check WorldCat. Use Interlibrary Loan (ILL) to request material from abroad.
  8. Buy it yourself? Online access to an article can usually be bought via the publisher's site of the journal (use your creditcard); books can be bought in an (online) bookstore.