Searching Electronic Databases and Print Indexes for Articles: Research Guide


When you are looking for journal or magazine articles, the first place to go is one of our online databases. Unfortunately, there is no one perfect database for finding articles in bioethics. There are, however, several which will give you different views of the discipline, from the point of view of the philosopher, the scientist or clinician, and the "regular citizen." As always, if you have trouble finding information on your topic in any of these databases, please feel free to ask a librarian for help.

Biological Abstracts (NCSU only) - Provides comprehensive coverage of worldwide journal literature in the life sciences. Nearly 6,500 international journals are indexed and subjects covered include agriculture, biochemistry, biotechnology, ecology, immunology, microbiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, public health, and toxicology. While most articles in this database cover basic sciences, there are also a number which deal with bioethics in the general sense. Coverage: 1969-present.

Philosopher's Index (NCSU only) - "Contains author-written abstracts covering scholarly research in the fifteen fields of philosophy, published in journals and books from 38 countries since 1940." This is an excellent source of scholarly articles in narrow areas of bioethics from the point of view of philosophers and ethicists, not scientists.

If you are looking for general information, including news and non-scholarly magazine articles, one good place to look is in one or more of our general databases, such as Academic Search Premier (NCSU only), which provide fulltext access to newspapers, magazines, and some scholarly journals. To find the complete list of similar databases, select the "general" subject area in the NCSU Libraries' Databases list. 

Additional Databases, Available on the Internet

ETHX on the Web - Allows a search of the collection of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics' NRCBL. "Journal articles, book chapters, bills, laws, court decisions, reports, and news articles relating to bioethics and professional ethics." URL for Basic Search:

PubMed MEDLINE Bioethics - "MEDLINE contains bibliographic citations and author abstracts from more than 4,600 biomedical journals published in the United States and 70 other countries. The file contains over 11 million citations dating back to the mid-1960's." To search the bioethics subfile only, select "LIMITS" from the options just below the search box, then select "Bioethics" from the pull-down menu options for Subsets. In this case, note that "bioethics" relates specifically to human medicine and biology, and does not include the expanded issues of animal rights and environmental science. Articles contained in this database will tend to have been written by clinicians and scientists, rather than by philosophers and ethicists. URL:

Print Indexes

Bibliography of Bioethics

"Annual index containing over 3,600 new citations to documents in the bioethics area. Published each year since 1975, the bibliography is derived from bioethics citations added to the NLM databases. It provides the most comprehensive access to literature about the ethical, legal, and public policy aspects of health care and biomedical research."
D. H. Hill Reference Z6675 .E8 B53 (1975-present)