Database Tutorials

Many video games now offer tutorials that allow gamers to master specific skills before playing the actual games.  Likewise, the UA Libraries provide tutorials about searching skills.  For more database help, try one of these tutorials:

Choosing Keywords

Boolean Operators (and, or, not)

Using Limiters

Top Gaming Databases

Databases are large electronic collections of information, often collections of journal articles and books.  This section lists some of the best gaming databases from various fields (please note that only currently enrolled UA students and employees will be able to access these databases).

Finding the right keywords is the key to searching databases!  Here’s some tips on identifying keywords:

>Mine Wikipedia essays for keywords (and suggested sources).

>Use one of the Game Geek sites to find keywords.  Search for relevant games on your topic and check the “categories” for keywords.

>Try searching for your topic and specific parts or aspects of games, such as dice, cards, gameboards, joysticks, virtual currency, rewards or incentives, increasing challenge.  For example, if you’re researching cheating and gaming, try searching for cheating and dice or maybe cheating and cards.

>Or try searching for your topic along with specific theories covered in class.  For example, if you’re researching violence and video games, try searching for violence and video games and flow theory to narrow your topic.



Scout—great place to start, an all-purpose search engine that searches many fields simultaneously, offers articles and books.

Power search tips:  After you search, use the limiters on the left sidebar to narrow your search to specific source types (Scholarly Journal articles, books, etc) and Geography (United States or other regions).


ERIC—the top resource for education articles, use it for the gamification of learning.

Power search tips: Try searching for the term gamification. Also try typing in “educational games” and a specific subject area or student population.   Also try “games theory” and pedagogy.  Check out Luminosity


PsycInfo—psychology articles, great for researching violence and video games and  gamers’ motivations.

Power search tip:  Take advantage of the Age Groups and Methodology limiters on the advanced search screen to focus your search.


Business Source Premier—economic articles about the use of gamification to increase profits, as well as the financial aspects of games companies.  Also good for researching gaming apps.

Power search tips:   Limit to scholarly, academic articles.  Look for specific manifestations of gaming in business, such as reward points, loyalty programs, or second life business.  Exclude articles about gambling by saying not gambling in your search.


America: History and Life (U.S. History) and Historical Abstracts (world history)—these two databases can help you research games in all ages and regions of the world.  Offers articles on wargaming and social aspects of early American games.

Power search tip: Use the Historical Period feature on the advanced search page to limit to a specific era.


AnthroSource, Anthropology Plus, eHRAF World Cultures, eHRAF Collection of Archaeology—anthropology articles that analyze the meaning and purposes of games in all world cultures, including past cultures.

Power search tips: The eHRAF databases have a cool “Browse by Subject” feature that you can use to find keywords and browse lists of articles about games.  Try searching for games on specific people groups, such as Incas or French, in the eHRAF databases.  Or, focus on particular types of games, such as ceremonial games.


ScienceDirect—scientific articles on games design and coding.

Power search tips: Locate the precise scientific jargon before searching and use the jargon as your keywords.

Special Section: Game Designer Directories

Game Design Companies

Contact most of the best video game companies.

Directory | GamesIndustry International

Find employees from some of the top game design companies.


Search a database of freelance game designers (requires registration).