Anatomy of a Scholarly Article
Reading a scholarly article can seem daunting at first. Scholarly articles are long and have a lot of data. If you break down the article into components, it will make it easier to read and understand.
For a quick overview, click on the link below to see an example of a scholarly article and its parts.
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
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.
Many college-level assignments ask you to find articles. You are in luck! The library provides free access to many, many different kinds of articles, from international newspaper articles to popular magazines to scholarly journal articles. Whether you are starting with an idea for a topic or the citation for a specific article, the library can get you the article you need.
Use this page to figure out what type of article works best for your situation and how to find articles.
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 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>