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ECON 493: Capstone: Using ECONLIT database

Nuances of using ECONLIT

EconLit with Full Text is the best database for accessing scholarly journals of economics.  This database covers such nuances as: energy economics, environmental economics, labor economics, social economics, income distributions, and monetary controls from around the world. Coverage includes both theoretical and applied aspects of economics, as well as allied disciplines from the social sciences such as how changes in fiscal & monetary policy can trigger ripple effects across local communities, regions and countries . EconLit also includes books & book reviews, essays from multi-author books, working papers, and dissertations.  This database does not cover the literature of business operations nor management.  For those subjects, you need to use the Business Source Complete database. 

 Here is a quick search box for getting into the ECONLIT database:


EcontLit uses a unique set of "official" subject headings created by the American Economic Association.  These subject headings include a phrase, as well as a "JEL Classification" code number.  These JEL codes start with a single letter, and also incorporates a two-digit number, such as A12, or O57.

Each of the JEL codes has a specific title & functional description, startiing with A:

A00    General Economics and Teaching
A10    General Economics: General
A11    Role of Economics; Role of Economists; Market for Economists
A12    Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines

all the way down through Z:

Z12    Cultural Economics: Religion
Z13    Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
Z18    Cultural Economics: Public Policy
Z19    Cultural Economics: Other

You can learn more about the JEL Classification system and Subject headings at a website created by the AEA.


Revising your search strategy when using the EconLit database:

If you are not getting sufficient numbers of citations as a result of your search strategy, there are ways to broaden your search strategy.

Let use the example of looking for articles about   Baseball Stadiums and Costs .

In this actual case, finding only 2 articles from the EconLit database is just not sufficient for a good grade!

You should revise your strategy by trying to incorporate relevant synonyms, brand names, or important acronyms for your central concepts.  And you should use BOOLEAN LOGIC as well as PARENTHESES to properly organize & sequence those additional concepts.

 ( Baseball  OR  MLB ) 


( Stadiums  OR  Arenas ) 


( Costs  OR  Expenses  OR  Expenditures ) 

This revised search strategy would yield a total 11 citations, which is somewhat better than the 2 you originally found.

Another way of expanding your search is by incorporating the Business Source Premier database, combined together with your search of the EconLit database.

To accomplish this, go to the top of your search screen, and look near the center for the phrase "Choose Databases" listed in blue.

Click on that phrase, and you will then see a grey colored overlay pop-up, offering you a variety of other databases from the EBSCO family to choose from.  Click on the option for "Business Source Premier",

from ECONLIT changing to add other databases

and then click on the yellow colored  OK  button located at either the top or bottom of the grey inset.


Once you press that   OK  button, the selection of databases has been altered.

You can now verify that your new selection of databases was processed.  Look at the top of the white area, and directly to the left of the "Choose Databases" you will now see a link called "Show All" in blue.  Click on that "Show All" link, and you will now see the names of all of the EBSCO databases that you are now searching in a combined manner.


Now you need to click on the  Search  button, and your search strategy will now be re-executed simultaneously on both databases, yielding you more citations.

In this particular instance, you original search located only 2 articles on Baseball Stadiums and Costs, but after we brought in that second database, the number of results jumped to over 160 citations.

If you combine together the use of synonyms, Boolean logic, in addition to bringing in the simultaneous use of the two databases, then the number of citations matching this expanded search grows even larger, to over 250!

.0 results!

If you are getting too many results, or too much noise, you can narrow your search strategy into a specific portion of a citation, such as looking only in TITLES of article or SUBJECT headings.  Here is an example of how you can adjust those "field codes", from the pull down menu found near the  Search  button:

Or you can manually enter the relevant two-character field codes yourself:  "TI" = Titles of articles; "SU" = Subject headings; "SO" = Sources (the name of a specific journal); "AB" = words found in the Abstracts;  "AU" = Author's name, and "AF" = Author's place of affiliation / employment

Here is an example of what that can look like:


Gary M. Klein

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Gary Klein
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Mark O. Hatfield Library
Willamette University
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Salem, OR 97301
Willamette University

Willamette University Libraries

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street.
Salem Oregon 97301
Pacific Northwest College of Art Library
511 NW Broadway.
Portland Oregon 97209