What you’ll find: JSTOR contains articles, books, journals, and other resources. Content on JSTOR is primarily secondary sources, however they do have some historical primary sources. JSTOR contains works from a variety of disciplines.
The huge amount of content on JSTOR means that the biggest obstacle to using JSTOR effectively is producing narrow, relevant searches. JSTOR has two ways to search: basic search and advanced search.
Getting started: You can find the basic search feature on JSTOR’s homepage.
Basic search is useful for beginning your research as it provides a huge number of varied sources. After your initial search, sorting your results by the publishing date and displaying snippets of the content may help you find relevant results.
Try a few related search terms to see what yields the most relevant results for your research.
Advanced search is much more effective for finding sources once you have a solid thesis and a general idea of the articles, books, and journals in your topic area. Advanced search can be found in the ribbon at the top of the JSTOR homepage, next to the JSTOR logo.
Depending on your area of study, you may find it useful to search by specific dates or item type. You can also focus on certain disciplines and categories, For example, I might search for sources about ‘climate change’ published in zoology journals to filter out sources in other fields that discuss climate change.
Through the drop down boxes you can easily search using Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR. Using AND will narrow your searches, looking for only content that includes both key terms. OR will expand your searches by looking for sources that either term. NOT will remove any sources that include that term from appearing in your results. When using NEAR, there are a few different options: NEAR 5, 10, and 25. NEAR will search for terms that are within a specific number (5, 10, or 25) of words from each other.
As with most search boxes, you can use quotation marks to search for exact words and phrases. If, instead, you need more variations on your search terms, you can utilize wildcards and truncation in your searches. You can replace one letter in your search with a question mark. For example, you could search for both women and woman with the search term wom?n. You can search for similar terms by adding an asterisk to the end of the word. Global* may return searches for globe, globes, or globally.
You can download PDFs and citations for articles directly from JSTOR. Sign-up and log-in to save and manage articles with MyWorkspace. If the majority of your sources are on JSTOR, this is a great option to manage them. You can find MyWorkspace in the dropdown box from your username in the upper right hand corner.
Signing up for a free JSTOR account will also allow you to access some sources that are in JSTOR but not a part of the library’s subscription.