Answered By: Darcy Gervasio
Last Updated: Jun 17, 2016     Views: 709

If you're looking for general articles on a topic, 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.

Searching for Articles on Your Topic:

  • Just do a keyword search in the Discovery Search box on the Library's homepage
  • For a more tailored search, choose a subject guide from the Research by Subject box in the lower middle of our homepage, and then pick one of the subject-specific databases listed under the "Articles" tab. To learn more about subject databases, watch the "What is a Database?"  video below.
  • Know which database you want? Click on Databases by Title from the homepage and select a specific database from the A-Z list.
  • For interdisciplinary topics, try a multidisciplinary database such as ProQuest Research Library or Opposing Viewpoints in Context or JSTOR in addition to the Discovery Search or subject-specific databases mentioned above.
  • In any database, take advantage of limiters like date, publication type, geography, and subject headings to narrow your results.


Finding the Full Text of an Article:

  • Some databases have the full text (PDFs or HTML) of articles, while others have only citations and abstracts. Look for links that say full text, PDF, or HTML to read the full article. Pro Tip: Always go with the PDF when possible. PDFs look the best when printed, include the original page numbers, and display images better than the HTML version.
  • If there are no direct links to the full text, do not despair!  Just click the "Find It @ Purchase" button . This searches for full text in ALL of the Library's databases and journal collections. A new window will open providing different options for locating the article. Most of the time, the Library has access to the full text, just in another database. 
  • If "Find It @ Purchase" does not show links to the article in our library databases, STILL do not despair!  You can see if the Library has the article in print (hard copy) by choosing:  view Search the library catalog for print holdings
  • Never give up!  If we don't have immediate access to the article through "Find It" or in our print journal collections, then you can use interlibrary loan to request the item from another library.


Peer Reviewed or Scholarly Articles:

Many of the databases let you limit to peer reviewed, scholarly, or academic articles.  Look for limiters within the databases that say "scholarly articles," "peer reviewed," "academic journals," or something similar.  While technically not all academic journals are peer reviewed, most of them 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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