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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) About Finding Articles

What is a periodical?

Simply put, something that is published periodically, including a daily newspaper, weekly or monthly magazine, a 'zine, a yearbook, or a scholarly journal.

What is a scholarly journal?

Simply put, a periodical that is written by scholars to share research and discuss important topics of a field. Many scholarly journals are also peer reviewed or refereed, which means that the articles within them have undergone a strict review from scholars in the field before being accepted for publication.

Instructors often require that you find a variety of information resources for your research papers. They may require articles from scholarly or academic journals, and these general guidelines may help you identify scholarly journals from other types of periodicals:

  • Written for a general audience with no specific expertise
  • Rarely include a bibliography or citations
  • Articles are usually short
  • Written by faculty, researchers, or scholars for other experts in the field
  • Reviewed by other scholars
  • Includes citations and bibliography
  • Purpose is to report on research
  • Articles are usually longer.

For more information on different types of periodicals, see the Oasis Tutorial.

What is a database?

A Library Database is an online catalog or index. It allows you to find:

  • articles in journals/magazines/newspapers
  • articles in encyclopedias or information in dictionaries
  • electronic books and other documents

Some library databases provide full-text articles that you can access in the database. Look for the following icons to view full text from within a library database:

pdfPDF Full Text htmlHTML Full Text

Click on the link to get the text of the whole article.

Other databases only provide an abstract or brief summary of the article but may provide a way to link to the full text available through a different resource provider or database (EBSCO, Emerald, JSTOR, Oxford, etc.). For more information see the Articles & Databases page.

What Database Should I Choose?

Your topic will be relevant to scholars in at least one discipline, and

If you aren’t sure which database to choose, Academic Search Premier is a good place to start. To locate a database on a particular subject, see the Articles & Databases page.

Why Can't I Find the Full Text through the Electronic Journals List?

There are multiple possibilities

  1. The article doesn’t exist online.
  2. This library does not subscribe to the journal for that year online. In some cases, we may have it available in print instead. This is often the case with older issues.
  3. IN SOME CASES your article is available for free on the Internet but not mentioned on our ejournals list. This is often the case with government periodicals. Sometimes authors will post galley versions (pre-publication drafts) of their articles on their personal pages. If you are desperate for a recently published article, search on the article title in Google Scholar.

How can I be sure the library does NOT have an article?

  1. Search for the title of the journal in the Electronic Journal List.
  2. Search for the journal title in the InvestiGator Catalog.

No luck? Make a request in ILLiad through Interlibrary Services.

How do I cite a journal article in an online database?

It depends on your citation style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) but here are some items to note when you retrieve the article:

  • Name of database
  • Date that you downloaded the article
  • Web URL for the article in the database.

For more information go to Citing References.

MF 6/27/2011

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