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JSTOR User Guide


JSTOR provides online archives of major journals in all disciplines.  Typically the most recent several years are unavailable due to publisher restrictions, but earlier issues are available in their entirety in full text.  JSTOR is a good starting point for research in many subjects, as long as your topic is not related to current events or recent scientific developments.

Screenshot of JSTOR database


Keyword Searching

Because of the usefulness of the limiter options, it is suggested that you use the Advanced Search module.  Enter keywords representing your topic in the text boxes at top.  By default, each search line is connected with the Boolean "AND" operator.  This enables you to input a different concept or aspect of your topic on each line, while ensuring that your search results will address all the concepts.  You can use the Boolean "OR" within a text box to link together synonyms and related terms.  The asterisk (*) is a wildcard that allows retrieval of variant forms of a word; in the example above, articles containing the words "agricultural" or "agriculture" will be found.  Use quotation marks around groups of words to search them as a phrase.

By default, any articles that include all your search terms in their full text will appear in your search results.  If the number of results is excessive, you may wish to search one or more of your keywords in the Item Title field rather than in Full-Text by toggling the drop-down box next to the keyword(s) in question.  Only articles containing the keyword(s) in their title will be returned.  There is also an option for limiting the keyword search to Abstracts, but since only a fraction of JSTOR articles include abstracts, this is not advisable.

It is recommended that you apply Limiters to narrow the scope of your results.  Since Geisel Library does not subscribe to every journal available through JSTOR, we recommend that you limit your results to "include only content I can access."  Unless you explicitly want book reviews, always limit the Item Type to "Article", which will return journal articles only.  Depending upon your language proficiency, you may also wish to limit your results to English language only.  You can also narrow your results by publication date and discipline.  The discipline limiter can be valuable if you only want articles from specific perspectives (for example, political or anthropological) on your research topic. 


Viewing and Interpreting Results

Results are listed in order of relevance, so typically the most useful articles will be on the first screen of results.  You can use the Sort by drop-down box to switch to a chronological ordering of results.  To view an article for which access is available, simply click on its title.  To see the first page on which one of your keywords was encountered, click on Page of First Match below the article's citation.

In the article view (shown below), use the forward and backward arrow symbols to navigate through the article.  Click on the "List of pages with search results" link to see which pages mention your search terms most frequently.  To the right of the article image is a box containing several useful Google Scholar tools, which can help you identify further articles relevant to your research.

Screenshot of JSTOR database


Printing and Downloading Articles

Do NOT use the Print menu in your Internet browser to print the article, as this will only print one page at a time.  Instead, click on the View PDF link alongside the article citation, which will download the article as a PDF document and allow you to print it in its entirety.  You can also save this PDF file to your computer.  There is also an Export Citation tool that helps you transfer an article's citation information into reference management software such as EndNote.

For assistance with additional features in this database, see the help documentation and video tutorials available on the Help and Training page.


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