Answered By: Darcy Gervasio
Last Updated: Jun 30, 2015     Views: 537

If you're looking for an article on a topic, but don't have a specific article in mind, please follow the steps below or view the "What is a Database?" video embedded at the bottom of this page. More videos on finding articles in library databases can be found on the Purchase College Library youtube channel. If you have a particular article in mind, see Finding an Article from a Citation.

To find articles on a topic:

  • You can do a keyword search in the Discovery Search box on the library's homepage
  • OR for a more tailored search, choose a subject from the Research by Subject box in the lower middle of the library's homepage, and then pick one of the databases listed. (Each database includes records for articles from journals, magazines, and/or newspapers. Some databases also include book chapters, conference proceedings, etc.) If you don't want to go in by subject, click on Databases by Title from the library homepage and select a specific database to search for articles.
  • You might want to search in at least one multidisciplinary database such as Academic Search Complete, or ProQuest Research Library in addition to searching in databases that are specific to your subject area.
  • Use relevant keywords (e.g., depression and drug abuse ) and limits (e.g., limit to Scholarly Articles).
  • Find a citation to an article that you want. Look for links that say full text, PDF, or HTML full text. These links mean that the full text of an article is included in the database. Follow the links to the full text option of your choice. ( Hint: PDF files look the best when printed, and handle graphical material very well.)
  • If there are no direct links to the full text, click on the "Find It @ Purchase" button . This searches for full text in other databases and journal collections. A new window will open providing different options for locating the article.
  • Look for the links to “Article" to get to the full text of the article.
  • If there are no links to "Article," you can see if we have the article in print (hard copy) in the library by choosing the link: "Purchase College Library Catalog: Search our print collection." If we don't have immediate access to the article through any of these means, then you can use interlibrary loan to request the item from another library.

Peer Reviewed or Scholarly Articles

If you're looking for peer reviewed or scholarly articles, note that many of the databases let you limit to just those types of articles.  Look for a limiter on either the search screen or the first results screen, sometimes in the center or down the left or right side.  It may say "scholarly articles," "peer reviewed," "academic journals," or something similar.  While technically not all academic journals are peer reviewed, most are.  Note that these limiters are not 100% accurate, but they give you a very good start.  For information on distinguishing peer reviewed or scholarly articles from other types of sources, see this brief tutorial video.


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