Selecting a database
A good place to start when you are searching for articles is one of the library online databases. The library subscribes to many databases which are like indexes to different journals, magazines and newspapers. You can search for articles by topic or, if you already know the information, by author or title. Many of the databases have the full text of the article available so you can just download or print a copy.
- Go to the Library home page and click on Databases (under Find It). This will take you to an alphabetical list of all our databases.
- To see a list of databases recommended for a specific discipline, use the Filter drop-down on the database page. Select a general topic area from the drop-down and click Search.
- Mouse over the red information icon next to the name of the database. This tells you more about the database and the topics and time periods it covers.
Searching a database
The most effective way to search the online databases is to enter terms or keywords that effectively describe your topic.
- Use broad, meaningful keywords when you search. Don't use sentences or phrases.
- Use just a few keywords (1-3). You can always add keywords later if you need to refine your search.
- Use the facets or limits to help refine you search. For example, you can narrow your search by date or by geographic region.
- When you review your results, look at the abstracts or subject headings for other keywords you can use to improve your search.
- Be prepared to do several searches. Research is a process that takes time.
Finding a specific article
If you have an article citation and want to find that specific article, you can find it several ways.
- 1Search - Use the article title. It is often useful to put quotes around the article title to find the exact title you want.
- Example: "Feasability of a Home-Delivered Internet Obesity Prevention Program for Fourth-Grade Students"
- OSU Libraries catalog - Use the journal title, then navigate to the article using the date, volume, issue and page number information. <Learn More>
- Google Scholar - Use the article title. Again, it is often useful to put quotes around the article title to find the exact title you want. If you find articles that are not freely available, be sure to set up your Google Scholar preferences to talk to the OSU Libraries, or search the e-journals or catalog to see if we have the article. <Learn More>
If you are unsure about how to read an article citation or how to tell the difference between article and journal titles and how to keep track of necessary information like the volume, issue and page numbers, read more in this tutorial. <Learn More>
OSU Libraries subscribes to over 20,000 electronic journals (e-journals). It's easiest to search the e-journals if you have a specific journal or citation to locate. Always note the date range available for each journal subscription.
- Search for a specific e-journal title
- Search for a specific article by citation
- Search for a print journal (if we don't have an online version)
Remember that if we don't have a journal online, we can still get a copy of an article for you via Interlibrary Loan.
Sometimes you will want to see what has been published in a specific journal or magazine or just browse the table of contents of a current issue. You have a couple of options:
- Search for the journal or magazine on Google. Most journals or magazines have a web page that will lst the table of contents. You may not, however, be able to access the actual article
- Use the online databases to get to the journal or magazine content. You can use our online databases or E-journals list to see what has been published in a journal.
With Google Scholar you can search broadly (across several disciplines) with one search. You can use Google Scholar to find peer-reviewed articles, but you will also find pre-print copies of articles, conference papers, white papers, patents, legal opinions and more.
- Before you start -- go to Scholar Preferences (click the gear icon in the upper right corner) and enter Oregon State University in the Library Links field. Save your preferences.
- Enter your keywords in the search box.
- Browse results, making sure to use the library's subscriptions to get access the text of the articles where you can.Use the Get This Item at OSU link on the left to access the article.
When searching in catalogs and databases:
- Be creative in the words you use; if one doesn't work, try something else. Think of words with related meaning, such as natural resource management or restoration or conservation.
- Begin with keywords, and use the subjects found in the articles that come up to find more information
- Use quotation marks around phrases, so they won't be searched as individual words.
- Use advanced search features in catalogs and databases to limit by date, language, type of article, etc
For more in-depth information about developing advanced search strategies, check out a tutorial from Purdue University at http://gemini.lib.purdue.edu/core/files/strategies0.html
Index to research articles, government and independent reports and conference papers covering all areas of education at all levels.
1966-present. Includes thesaurus searching, links to the OSU Libraries Online Catalog and full text document service (EDRS), where applicable (via the Locate Document button).
1966-present. Links are provided for full text articles and documents.
1966-present. Index and Abstracts plus links to the EDRS collection.
Concurrent Users: unlimited
Coverage Dates: 1966 - present
Education Research Complete
Education Research Complete covers all levels of education from early childhood to higher education, and all educational specialties, such as multilingual education, health education, and testing. Education Research Complete provides indexing and abstracts for more than 1,500 journals, as well as full text for more than 750 journals, and includes full text for more than 100 books and monographs, and for numerous education-related conference papers.
Coverage Dates: - Varies by title
Educators Reference Complete
Contains more than 1,100 periodicals and 200 reports from the U.S. Department of Education. A resource for any educator - from school teachers and administrators to those studying in the field at the collegiate and graduate level. Provides full-text results for nearly half of the journal titles found in ERIC.
Coverage Dates: 1980 -
Science Citation Index (ISI Web of Science)
Index of cited articles from over 5000 scientific journals in all areas of science. Search by cited author, original author, title keywords or journal name.
Index only: 1970-present Web of Science
Coverage Dates: 1970 - present
Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier provides full text for nearly 4,600 scholarly publications, including full text for more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage spans virtually every area of academic study and offers information dating as far back as 1975. This database is updated daily on EBSCOhost.
Full-text and abstract/index: 1975-present
Concurrent Users: unlimited
Coverage Dates: 1975 - present
The premier source for peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world's leading journals and reference sources. Extensive coverage of the sciences, technology, medicine, the arts, theology, literature and other subjects - authoritative and comprehensive. Millions of articles available in both PDF and HTML full-text with no restrictions; updated daily.
Coverage Dates: 1980 - present
An archival collection of journal articles that includes over 140 titles in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. It does not provide access to the most current issues of the journals. JSTOR's agreements with publishers include a gap between the most recently published issue and the date of the most recent issues available in JSTOR ranging, in most cases, from 2 to 5 years. OSU Libraries subscribes to Arts & Sciences I, Ecology & Botany and the General Science Collections. Full Text: Dates vary by journal
Concurrent Users: unlimited
Coverage Dates: - Varies by Journal
Launched in 1995 by the Johns Hopkins University Press in collaboration with the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at John Hopkins University, Project MUSE is an interdisciplinary collection of high quality, peer reviewed journals.
Concurrent Users: unlimited
Coverage Dates: - Varies by journal
Finding an article on a topic
You use the keywords from your research topic to search for journal articles on a topic - usually in a database.
Start your searches with broad searches (2-3 keywords, not too specific) in a general database like 1Search or Google Scholar. Google Scholar is simple to search in, but it does take some practice to learn how to get articles that are not freely available and to make sure you are choosing the best scholarly articles. <Learn More>
If your topic is more specialized, you may want to search in a subject database. Article databases are available through the library for almost every topic, from Anthropology to Zoology. Use the database subject filter to choose a database that matches your topic. <Learn More>
Finding the full text of an article
Locating articles: Once you find your citation, you will need to locate the journal to read the article. Some citations will have the full-text of the article available online. For others, click on this button: to see if OSU subscribes to the electronic or the paper copy of the journal. 360 will open a new window and will display a link to full-text when available. If it's not, click the link to the library catalog to check for a paper copy. If neither is available, request the article from Interlibrary Loan: http://osulibrary.orst.edu/ill/.
Finding a scholarly article
College-level research often requires you to find scholarly journal articles (also referred to as peer-reviewed articles or research articles). Scholary articles are written to convey the results of original study, research or experimentation. They are written by experts in a discipline for other experts in the discipline. There are often specific sections in a scholarly article, such as an abstract, methods, results and references.
You can find scholarly articles in general databases like 1Search, in subject-specific databases or via Google Scholar. Some databases, such as 1Search and Academic Search Premier, have a check box that allows you to narrow your search to just scholarly articles. However, being able to recognize whether or not you have found a scholarly article is still ultimately your responsibility. Click Read more (below) to learn about some typical features that can help you recognize scholarly articles.
Two more tutorials you may find helpful:Read more
In cited reference searching, you are searching works cited pages in scholarly articles. You can trace the influence of ideas and writers, find more recent articles on your topic.
Google Scholar cited by... Incomplete but you may find some useful leads.