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Research Tips: Finding Articles

Introduction

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. 

Tips:

  • 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."

Databases

We have a full list of databases available here, but you can also limit this page to just show databases on a particular subject by using the "Subjects" dropdown at the top left 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: 

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 the buttons marked "Bookmark" or "Permalink" and click these buttons for a more reliable link (see image files below for where these are located).

If you cannot find these buttons, you can also email yourself a copy of the article to ensure you can find it again, or save the citation information and ask a librarian for help.


Gale Example:

Gale example


 

 

EBSCO Example:

ebsco example

Choosing a Database for Research

What are "peer reviewed" or "scholarly" articles?

Scholarly articles are those 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 it is published. This is done to ensure that articles published are accurate, high quality, and useful to the academic discourse. 

Many of our databases allow you to limit your search results to just show these articles. Check the limiters on the left or right screen (depending on the database) and click the box next to "Peer-reviewed" to do this.

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

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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