Researching and writing your senior thesis is an opportunity to demonstrate and expand upon the skills and knowledge you've gained in your field or discipline over the past four years. Now is a good time to identify the major journals in your field and the most relevant journals to your topic, to contact the subject librarian for your field, and to learn to use discipline-specific research strategies and databases.
Your subject librarian is a valuable resource for researching and writing your senior thesis. Contact them early and often.
Finding and using databases
As you research your senior thesis topic, it's important get familiar with the major databases in your field. Ask your subject librarian and faculty advisor what databases they suggest you search in; your subject librarian can also guide you to the specific features and tools in your chosen databases that can enhance your research process.
Use the links below to navigate the library's more than 500 databases and check out the library's research guides for databases in each field.
When embarking on your senior thesis, it's a good idea to become familiar with the major/core journals in your field, in addition to becoming familiar with the major databases. Below are some strategies to do so.
Check the Research Guide for your discipline
Many of the librarian-created research guides include a list of the core journals for a given discipline.
Leverage the work of your professors
Your professors are experts in their fields. Part of their expertise is knowing about the core journals in the field, so ask them for their suggestions.
You can also see where your professors have published their research via their Curriculum Vitae (an in-depth, academic version of a resume, often available online) on their college department website. This is a good strategy if your research topic is closely related to that of your thesis advisor.
Use Journal Impact Factors
Journal Impact Factors measure the importance of a particular journal in a field by taking into account the number of articles published per year and the number of citations to articles published in that journal. These measures are intended to help researchers get a sense of the top journals in their field.
Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a product of ISI Web of Knowledge that provides impact factors and rankings of many journals in the social and life sciences based on millions of citations. It offers numerous sorting options including impact factor, total cites, total articles, and immediacy index. In addition, JCR provides a five-year impact factor and visualized trend data.