WR121 Fisher: Finding articles
Most academic research includes extensive use of published articles. These might include articles from general interest magazines, newspapers, or specialized academic/peer-reviewed journals. You can find these kinds of sources using Google, but searching that way can be inefficient because published articles will be mixed in with all the rest of the stuff (good and bad) that Google will serve up. Remember that the better and more serious the source, the more likely it will be available only to subscribers. This means your Googling will bring you up against a paywall. Instead of Google for these kinds of sources, try a library database!
- Academic Search Premier This link opens in a new windowFull text for more than 4,500 scholarly social sciences, humanities, general science, education and multi-cultural journals. 3,700 are peer-reviewed.
In Academic Search Premier:
For Reliable (but not peer-reviewed) sources: Under Source Types check the "Magazines" "News" and "Trade Publications" boxes. Your results will be from reliable publications, and will be more understandable than many scholarly articles.
For Scholarly (aka "Peer Reviewed) sources: Check only the "Academic Journals" box. (If you have done the reliable first, be sure to uncheck Magazines, News and Trade Publications.)
The library also subscribes to a lot of very targeted databases. If you're exploring a topic related to a particular discipline (for example, the environment, women's/gender issues, business, health), remember that we might have a database related to that broad topic. Some examples include:
- GenderWatch This link opens in a new windowFocusing on how gender impacts diverse subject areas, resources include scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, as well as NGO and government publications. Archival material from as early as 1970 provides a historical perspective on the women's movement, men's studies, the transgendered community, and changes in gender roles. View the GenderWatch handout
- PsycINFO This link opens in a new windowStart here if you are looking for scholarly (peer-reviewed) psychology articles. PsycINFO is the single most comprehensive psychology article collection. Full-text articles from PsycARTICLES are included here. View the PsycINFO handout [pdf].
- JSTOR This link opens in a new windowFull text of over 1000 scholarly journals in the arts and sciences, from their earliest issues up to 3-5 years ago. Does not include current issues of the journals. Video tutorials are available.
All of the library databases can be accessed using the "Databases A-Z" link on the library homepage. These are available from off-campus with your MyPCC login information.
Reading a Search Results Page from a Library Database
Library databases are great places to find published articles, but the results pages can be confusing, so this video will give you some tips to help you find useful results.
Scholarly? Professional? Popular?
The first thing you should do when you have a research assignment is figure out what types of article sources are required or allowed. Some instructors require you to use only scholarly peer-reviewed journals while others might let you use a variety of sources.
Scholarly article - also known as peer-reviewed, academic, or refereed, these articles are written for researchers and experts and usually contain the results of a research study. Scholarly articles are written by experts in the field and are reviewed by peers who are experts in the same area. In many databases, you can limit your search to scholarly, peer-reviewed or refereed journals to weed out any non-scholarly content. For specific advice about finding and using scholarly articles, please see the Peer-Reviewed Articles tab. While many scholarly articles are found in library databases, that is not the only place to look. Click here to find out more.
Professional/trade article - written for people working in a specific field. Articles can be written by experts in the field or by staff writers. The articles are only reviewed by journal editors, so they go through a less rigorous review process.
Popular journals - written for a general audience rather than for professionals or scholars and written by journalists. Examples include The New Yorker, People, and Rolling Stone.