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ECON 496: Senior Research Seminar: Using ECONLIT database

All Databases at Willamette

Databases are how articles are indexed; indexes primarily tell you that articles exist opposed to providing the full-text of articles.  These databases cover literature that is related to this subject area. The full list of WU database is available by alphabetic list or subject.  There are also guides available to walk you through how to find materials.

How To Find Articles

If an article is not available in full-text, click the "Find It!" button.  Find it at Willamette

This will check if we have access through a different database and our print collection. 

If we do not have access, you will be given an option to order it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).  Fill out the form and click "Submit." It takes about 2 business days to get articles.

Nuances of using ECONLIT

EconLit with Full Text provides access to 400+ scholarly journals of economics, energy economics, environmental 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. 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 Premier database (which is listed under tab for "Other Databases").

EconLit with full text


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 9 citations, which is somewhat bettter than the 2 you originally had.

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",

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 orignal 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 100 citations!

If you combine together the use of synonyms, Boolean logic, in addition to bringin in the simultaneous use of the two databases, then the number of citations matching this expanded search grows even larger, to over 200 results!

Gary Klein (Reference Librarian)

Gary Klein's picture
Gary Klein
Mark O. Hatfield Library
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301

Work phone: #503-370-6743

Gary's general work schedule (Spring 2020):
Mon - Thu = 9:30am -- 9pm; Fri = 9:30am -- 5:30pm AND ALSO by appointment at other times.