There are two primary types of articles that you need to search for an economics paper. The first are peer-reviewed journal articles. The best databases for them are EconLit and Business Source Premier. Both of these can be searched by date, by author, by subject, and by geographic terms. EconLit is also searchable by JEL Classification Code. (More on this below.) Business Source Premier can be searched by keywords. These are both very helpful search tools.
The best way to search in these or other databases is to go to the ADVANCED SEARCH option. This allows you to control your search terms and do a better, more controlled and in-depth search. Search by the author or subject or geographical term you find best. Combining them using the terms offered, AND, OR, and NOT, can narrow or widen your search depending upon the results you get.
In EconLit, using the “CC” option, allows you to focus your search to particular classification codes used within the Journal of Economic Literature. These codes can be found here.
To search, for example, for articles that talk about boom and bust cycles in business, you would:
- Choose “CC Classification Code” as the option in the drop box
- then Enter E320 into the search box – you chose E320 from the JEL classification code as it covers “Business Fluctuations and Cycles.”
There are times when a database will find the articles you are searching for in both PDF and HTML format. Always choose the PDF. Articles in any data-supported field usually have graphs and charts in them. HTML does not give you these in the format the author wants you to see them in.
The other major type of article you will look for are Working Papers. These are papers that are being readied for submission to peer-reviewed journals and frequently are the most timely in their subject matter. While they can be searched in EconLit, it is better to look for them in the databases that specialize in them: SSRN (Social Sciences Research Network) and NBER: The National Bureau of Economic Research. Neither has a sophisticated search engine, but both can searched by author, keyword and title.
If you’re searching a citation database like the EconLit or Business Source Premier, you’ll need to see if the library subscribes to the journal the article you want is in. Open up another window to our homepage and click on our Journals link. Type in the title of the journal, click on the Search button and then click on the links (if any) listed below.
If we do not subscribe to the journal you’re looking for, use ILLiad to request the article.
||For more information on ILLiad, and to set up your account, click here. Once your account is set up, you can automatically populate the article request form from EBSCO databases – just click on the button. From other databases, or from citations you find in printed sources, type in the information.