How do I find an article?
Decide on your research topic. Keep it focused. For example, “Are there teenaged drug addicts among the homeless?” is better than just “homelessness.” Identify some keywords from your research question (e.g., homeless, teenagers, drug use).
Choose a research database that is likely to include your research topic. The library has many research databases; select one from the alphabetical list or by subject.
Do a search, using the keywords from your research topic. Narrow your search by date of publication, whether the article is available in full-text or whether it was published in a magazine, newspaper, or scholarly journal. Use the Advanced Search option found on most databases for greater control of your search.
I want an article I can read and print from my computer. Where do I find these?
Look for PDF or HTML full-text symbols to link to the full article. Most research databases include full-text articles.
Some databases, however, only include the citations (or brief descriptions) rather than the entire article. Follow the “Check for Full-Text” symbol; you may be linked directly to the article in a different database; informed that the article is only available in the print periodicals collection; or told, “Sorry, no holdings found for this journal” and referred to interlibrary loan.
My teacher said I can only use articles from popular magazines for my research paper. What are popular magazines?
Popular magazines include Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated, as well as the New York Times and most other major newspapers. If you can find it in a doctor’s waiting room, it’s probably a popular magazine!
Distinguishing characteristics of articles in popular magazines
- written for general public, usually by journalists
- provide news, reports or accounts of research originally published elsewhere
- often unsigned
- often have catchy titles
- frequently include eye-catching photos and graphics
- rarely include bibliographies
My professor said I need to use a “professional” journal. What does that mean and how can I find one?
Your professor might use one of these terms: professional, scholarly or peer-reviewed journals. These are usually written by experts for other experts.
Distinguishing characteristics of articles found in professional, scholarly or peer-reviewed journals:
- written by experts in the field
- longer in length
- few illustrations, other than charts or graphs
- multiple authors
- references/works-cited section at the end of the article
Scholarly or professional journals available from the Marvin Library include Journal of Sociology, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and Teaching Exceptional Children.
Often in a research database, there is an option to limit the results to scholarly journals. Look for this option!
My professor wants me to use PDF articles that include the original illustrations and charts. How do I find PDF articles?
Limit results to PDF files if that search option is available. A PDF file is an exact reproduction of an article from a journal and looks like a photocopy of the original article.
How do I find out if Marvin Library owns a specific journal, magazine, or newspaper?
Check the library journals list to determine whether a specific magazine, journal or newspaper is available from our library in print or electronic format.
My professor said I cannot use online sources. Can I use an article available in full-text online that I found using a research database?
Yes! The online articles found through research databases were originally or simultaneously published in print. These are considered “print” resources even if you located them online.
I still can’t find anything. How do I get help?
Go to Ask a Librarian or View Library Tutorials online. Stop by the library or call the reference desk at (518) 629-7337 during library hours. We are here to help you!