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Research Tips: Finding Articles


Here you will find information about searching for academic articles, which can be found in databases. Remember, if you find an article that isn't available through the library, you can always request a copy through interlibrary loan!

Creating Keywords

When searching in the library databases, you should come up with keywords for your research question. Keywords are made up of the most important concepts in your research question.

For example, if my research question is "How does technology affect children?" I can use "technology" "children" and "affect" as my keywords. 


  • Start with a broad search, then narrow your focus based on what is interesting and available.
  • Try searching for similar words or concepts. For example, if you're looking for information on young adults, you can also try searching for adolescents, teenagers, preteens, or high school students.
  • Do several different searches with different combinations of keywords. There is no magic search that will have all the sources you need, so try several to find the results that work best for your research project.
  • If the database you're searching has multiple boxes for you to enter search terms, enter one term per box. This makes it easy to switch your search terms around. If the database only has one search box, put the word AND between your search terms. For example, "technology AND children."


We have a full list of databases available here, but you can also limit this page to just show databases on a particular subject or type by using the dropdowns located at the top of the list.

If your topic doesn't fit into a specific subjects, here are a few databases that are a good place to start researching: 

Searching in Multiple Databases

Some databases come from the same companies/vendors and share search functionality. This means you can search in database groups with multiple subject matters instead of one at a time, making searching faster, easier, and more comprehensive. This is a good tip for research that touches multiple subjects. Expect a higher amount of results when searching - use filters and best search practices to further limit search results if too many are returned.  

Gale Powersearch (searches over 35 Gale databases covering a variety of subjects).

  • Select "Gale Powersearch" and choose the databases of interest under "Product Categories". Proceed with searching as normal. 

Proquest (searches Boston Globe, Coronavirus Research Database, Ebook Central, Publicly Available Content Database‎, and Science Database)   

  • Select Proquest Combination Search and above the search bar select "Change Databases", and select which ones you would like to search. Click "Use selected databases" to apply the databases to the search. Proceed with searching as normal. 

Ebsco (includes CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750, Exploring Race in Society, GreenFILE, Teacher Reference Center, and SocINDEX with Full Text). 

  • Select any of the Ebsco databases, above the search bar select "Choose Databases" and select which ones you would like to search. Proceed with searching as normal. 


Finding Stable Links

The links at the top of the page in the databases may not work later if you save or bookmark them in your browser. Instead, look for icons inside the database for permanent links, sometimes marked as "Bookmark", "Get Link" or "Permalink". Select and copy for a more reliable link (see image files below for where these are located). 

If you cannot find a permanent link, you can also email yourself a copy of the article to ensure you can find it again, or save the citation information.

Gale Example:


EBSCO Example:

ebsco example

Choosing a Database for Research

What are "peer reviewed" articles?

Peer-reviewed articles (also known as "refereed" articles) are scholarly articles which have undergone peer review, a process where other academics and experts in the field read over the paper and offer suggestions to improve it before publication. This is done to ensure that published articles are accurate, high quality, and useful to the academic discourse. 

Many of the library databases allow you to limit your search results to only peer-reviewed articles or journals. Check the search options in the Advanced Search (or, depending on the database, in the filter menu once you create a search) and select the option for "Peer-reviewed".

For a more detailed explanation on what the peer review process entails, check out the article What is peer review? from The Conversation. 

How do I find peer-reviewed articles?

The Mondor-Eagen Library purchases many databases that contain peer-reviewed content. Note that very few of the databases contain exclusively peer-reviewed content, so it's important to choose your database wisely. On the databases page, filter the list by Database Type, select Peer-reviewed. You can filter your results further by selecting the dropdown for Subject and selecting a relevant subject. Read the descriptions for each database, and choose appropriately for your research needs. Once inside the database you will likely need to select Peer review as a search filter, otherwise all results will contain a mix of peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed material.

If you are searching for peer reviewed material outside of the Mondor-Eagen databases, like on Google Scholar, there is no filter for peer-review, but you should be able to verify in a few easy steps. Any peer-reviewed article should have some indicator that it has undergone the peer-review process, whether it is at the top of the page alongside publisher or author information or in the official website of the publishing journal under the "About" section or its equivalent. When in doubt, ask a librarian!

What does a scholarly article look like?

Scholarly articles will often look different from other types of sources you may have seen before. Here are some sections you may see in a scholarly article that are useful to skim when choosing an article to use for your project:

Abstract - The abstract is a one paragraph summary of the article. It's a good idea to read this section of the article first to determine if the article is relevant to your research.

Literature Review - This section goes through previous research on the topic to give you some background knowledge. Often, it's a good idea to find the full-text of some of the sources mentioned here, as they usually feature important research on your topic.

Method - This section is mostly seen in science or medical articles, and will go over the details of the experiment the authors did. This is a useful section of the paper to look at if you're looking for research on a specific method or intervention, or if you want to analyze the study's validity. 

Conclusion - The conclusion is usually the last section of the paper, and will summarize the findings of the research and what the authors learned.


Tips for Doing In-Depth Research

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