Research 101: Finding Articles
- Accessing Online Databases
- Choosing a Database
- Finding Full-Text Articles
- Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly Sources
- Reading a Journal Article
If you need to find journal articles for a research assignment, you're in luck! The library has a collection of print journal titles located on the second floor of the library. These journals are for in-library-use only (which means they do not check out), with a copy room for making copies. Periodicals are organized alphabetically by title. The library also subscribes to numerous online databases, which are electronic collections of journals and magazines.
Some databases are very general and cover many different subjects, while others are subject-specific. A good place to start your research is the Recommended Databases page. These databases are selected by the librarians and are the most useful for the broadest range of students. One of the best general databases is Academic Search Complete, which covers many different subjects and has many user-friendly features.
For help using a specific database, click the icon (if available) next to the database's name and description.
If you know the name of a database that you wish to use, click the Alphabetical List. This page has all the library databases listed from A to Z. On this page, click the icon for more information about a specific database.
If you don't know which database to use for your research, click the Subject List. From this page, select the category that most closely matches the subject of your research. For example, if you are looking for articles on literary criticism, select the Literary Criticism category. All of these databases are related to this category. Read the database descriptions to find a good database. For literary criticism, for example, Literary Reference Center Plus and Literary Sources (Gale) are two of the best databases to use.
For databases recommended by the librarians for specific subjects or classes, visit the library's Research Guides.
Regardless of the database you choose to use, you will be able to type in words in search boxes to find specific articles.
One thing to remember is that if you want only articles that you can read the entire text of, you need to click the Full-Text box. This is usually available on the beginning search screen. The following are examples:
If you do not check this box, you may receive results that only include the abstract (summary) of the article. For help obtaining the full-text of an abstract-only article, please contact a librarian.
If your professor tells you that you can only use peer-reviewed or scholarly articles (also sometimes called academic articles), you can usually limit your search to those types of articles with a check box.
To learn more about the differences between peer-reviewed and popular sources, view our Is It a Popular Magazine or a Scholarly Journal? page.
Once you have found a journal article, it's time to read it. Here are some resources to help you learn how to approach reading an article:
- How to Read and Understand a Scientific Paper: A Guide for Non-Scientists
- How to Read Scientific Papers
- Reading and Taking Notes on Scholarly Journal Articles