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View a short video tutorial or read the accompanying text on how to search library databases to find articles.

Follow these four steps to find articles for your research.

1. Choose the type of information you need.

Articles are published in scholarly journals, newspapers and popular magazines. Think about the type of information you need for your paper, who would write about your topic and where those articles would be published. This will save you time by ensuring that you begin your research in the right place.

Example:
Female college students with eating disorders.

Who would write about this topic?
A. Psychologists, health/medical researchers
B. Writers for women’s magazines or news magazines
Where would they publish?
A. Scholarly psychology or health/medical journals
B. Popular magazines

For more information about the difference between scholarly and popular information, see Popular vs. Scholarly.

2. Choose a database.

Now that you know the types of articles you need, you can choose a database, also known as a periodical index, to find them. Databases are collections of thousands of articles organized by subject. The Libraries have hundreds of databases covering every academic discipline. Some are multi-disciplinary, covering a broad range of subjects and including popular and scholarly sources, and others are subject-specific, and include scholarly and specialized articles. A complete list is available at Find Articles using Databases.

The following multi-disciplinary databases are good places to start your research:

  • Academic Search Complete, 1990-present.
    Find scholarly, popular and newspaper articles from across disciplines. Includes full-text.

  • Academic OneFile, 1980-present.
    Find scholarly, popular and newspaper articles from across disciplines. Includes full-text.

To find a subject-specific database, visit Databases by Subject.

Example:
Female college students with eating disorders

Databases :

      Academic Search Complete includes scholarly articles by psychologists and health researchers, as well as articles from popular news magazines.

      PsycINFO, a subject-specific database in psychology, includes scholarly articles.

3. Search the database.

To search a database, choose keywords which represent the main concepts of your topic. In order to find the best articles for your research, for each concept, choose a number of keywords, including synonyms and related terms.

Then combine them using AND and OR

  •  AND narrows your search by looking for articles with all of the words
  •  OR broadens your search by looking for articles with any of the words

Example: Female college students with eating disorders

Concept 1       AND       Concept 2
            female college
OR       students
            college women
            eating disorders
OR       bulimia
            anorexia

4. Find the complete article.

 

All databases will list citations which you can use to find the entire article. Some will also provide abstracts (brief summaries) of articles, while others will contain the full text of the article. If the article is not full-text in the database, do the following:

Option 1:

 

Option 2 (use this option when there is no Find it at UT link)

  • Search the title of the journal or magazine using the Library Catalog > Journal Title search.
  • Try searching both boxes. The first box searches everything we have in print and much of what is available online. The second box searches online sources only.
  • If the article is available online, you will see “Electronic Resource.” Click on it to see a menu of options for finding the article full-text in another database. (See Hint for Finding Articles in Another Database.)
  • If the article is only available in print, click on the title of the journal or magazine to open the full record. If you are looking for a recent issue, click on “Latest Received” to see if the issue you want has arrived. If you are looking for an older issue, search for a specific volume or year by typing that into the search box “View additional copies or search for a specific volume/copy” at the bottom of the record.
  • Write down the entire call number and library in order to find it on the shelf.

 

Hint for Finding Articles in Another Database:

When you click on the database link, a number of things may happen:
  • Possibility 1: you will be taken directly to the article
  • Possibility 2: you will go to a journal, volume or issue level and will have to use the article citation information to click through to the article
  • Possibility 3: you will go to the database search screen and will have to search the database using the title of the article
Tip: Be sure to check the date ranges of the database against your citation to make sure the full text of your article is contained in that database.

FAQs

What if the library doesn't have the journal or magazine I need?
If the library does not own the journal or magazine you need, you can request the article for free through Inter-Library Service simply by filling out an online request form. The library will get the article from another university and give it to you electronically or in print.


Is it possible to see which journals are available online?
Visit Find a Journal to see which journals we subscribe to electronically. You may find the title of the journal listed more than once. Check the date ranges under each listing to find the listing which will contain your article.

Need help? Ask A Librarian.