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GD 312/412: Contemporary Issues in Design

Resources to help students in GD412 on their research essay

Getting Started


Access 1Search on the library home page in the top right corner of the screen.

1Search is the library's discovery tool--it is not only our catalog for books held here at OSU, it is also the Summit shared catalog, showing you books and other resources available at our academic partner libraries throughout the Northwest, most of which you can borrow (delivered within 3-5 business days, free of charge). But it also searches across our many databases, to show you a wide variety of journal, newspaper and magazine articles, maps, videos and government documents on your subject.

You can find "facets" on the left of a 1Search results page that can quickly limit your search to the type of resource you want.

If you need a more in-depth search of specific databases you may choose one of them to search directly from this guide or from the Library Databases list on the OSU Libraries page.

Databases for Articles and Reports

Depending on the type of articles or information you're looking for, a specific database may be the best choice for your search. Here are a few that you may find useful.

Specialized Databases and Websites

Finding the Full Text of an Article

Locating articles: In most of the library's databases, look for these button to open the full-text of your article.

360 Link to Full TextOR     360 link to full text

These buttons will open (or take you to) the full-text of the article when we have a subscription to the journal the article is published in.

If the message says, "No online version available", click the Submit a Request link to request the article for free from Interlibrary Loan:

Google, Google Scholar or Databases?

Why can't you just use Google to find journal articles? Actually, you can, especially if you use their special search engine; Google Scholar is a good place to find articles. But it has its drawbacks.

  • It is harder is to determine if the journal article you find is peer-reviewed. It is easier to do this in a database, which often has tools that let you limit searches to peer-reviewed or refereed content. Not everything that you find in Google Scholar is scholarly, let alone peer-reviewed.
  • You will also often find that many of the articles you locate on Google Scholar are not actually available to you. Frequently on Google Scholar you find a citation only to discover you have to pay $$$ for it. If you use the library databases and if the library has a subscription to the journal, you'll have immediate access to the article for free. If the library does not have the journal, we can get it for you through interlibrary loan (also for free).

You will find things in Google Scholar that you don't find in the databases. But you'll also find a lot of things in databases not included in Google Scholar. So for a more complete search, you'll probably end up using both the databases and Google Scholar for your research.

Demographic Data

The U.S. Census Bureau is the primary resource for U.S. demographic data (United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas), and the primary tool for accessing it is American FactFinder. It is fairly easy to use, and convenient since it includes data from several censuses and surveys. For help, there is a step-by-step training guide for American FactFinder AFF

Other data and resources
  • Income data from the Current Population Survey
  • Consumer Spending data from Consumer Expenditures Surveys
  • StateMaster compares statistics between different states in the US -- for example you can compare the percentage of toothless Americans over 65 years of age in every state.
  • The online mapping database SimplyMap enables users to develop interactive thematic maps and reports using thousands of demographic, business, and marketing data variables. Recently added Health questions.
  • A new portal site that includes a lot of added functionality is StatsAmerica. Billed as "Your one-stop destination for economic development data sites and tools" it includes data profiles and maps.Very easy to use.