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Library Research Strategies and More: Find articles

Finding Articles

Select a discipline-specific database

  • Think about your topic.  Who would be interested in it?  Educators, Psychologists, Sociologists or Multidisciplinary?
  • Find databases based on subject areas here:  Browse all Databases
    • Click on related broad Subjects to see recommended databases.  For example, Education to then search Education Source and ERIC - the two key education databases.
    • Logging in from off-campus?  You'll be asked to authenticate.  Follow the prompts.

Enter your search

  • Use the Advanced Search option.  It gives you more control in search techniques.
  • Search tip:  Use these tools when structuring your search:    and     or      *      "  "
    • Use     if the word has multiple endings -   effect*    would retrieve effects, effective, effecting
    • Use  "  "  to search for a phrase -   "higher education"
    • AND  between terms finds articles with both terms; OR  finds articles with any or all terms


  • Sample topic: How is ADHD impacted by diet?
  • An Advanced Search would look like this:

Database search options vary.  Explore:

  • Thesaurus - See how terms are defined within a database  
  • Field Searching - The default search is broad. You can change the field in which your term is searched.
    • Search Tip:  Changing the search field can help to narrow down your search results.
    • Try changing the field search to the TI (title), AB (abstract), SU (subject) and many more.
    • What are the field definitions?  They differ.  See the database help screens for details.


  • Limits - Review the options within your discipline's core databases.
    • You can Limit your search results to only Scholarly (Peer-reviewed)
    • Search Tip:  Are you new to this topic?  Don't Limit to Scholarly at first.  Read the abstracts of articles even if they aren't scholarly.  You can learn about the topic.  Then Limit to Scholarly.

Examining and refining what you've found:

  • Browse through the titles and read the abstracts of related articles.  Are the search results relevant?  
    • If yes, note the subject, keyword, or descriptor terms.  You can use those in another search.
    • If no, tweak your search using newly identified terms.
    • Also search in another database. 
      • Note:  Is the database in a different discipline?  Consider that the terms may need to be changed.  Ex.:  "Primary" would be different in an education and political science database.
    • Search tip:  You can search multiple databases at one time.  See Note above.


  • How can you tell if an article is scholarly?
    • Within the search, choose the Limit for Scholarly/Peer-reviewed.  or
    • When looking at a citation within a database, click the journal title until you reach the Publication Details.  Look for the "Peer reviewed" field.  or
    • Look up the journal title in the Serials Directory.  Look in the "Refereed" field.  Refereed = Peer Reviewed

Getting the full-text:

  • When viewing the results, look for the PDF, Full-text or HTML link.
  •  External Link Icon  Clicking this button will lead you to the full-text in another source if it is available via the library.
  • Alternatively, you can search Google Scholar to see if it is available in an online repository for free.
    • Search tip:  When searching Google Scholar always come via the library website so you won't be prompted to pay for resources we have. 

  • Use ILLiad (our interlibrary loan system) to request articles.  We find them and send to you.  At no cost to you.  Turnaround time  ~ 3-7 days.

Create an account within the product:

  • Most vendors (EBSCO, ProQuest, Google Scholar, etc.)  allow you create a free account.  You can save search results, search strategy, and more to the cloud. 
    • Functionality differs.  Explore within products.
    • Log in when using the product so results you save are going to the cloud and not temp space.

IMC Librarian

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Margaret Gregor