Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Get Started with Library Research

I Need to Search for Articles on My Topic

Databases permit you to search for articles on your topic from across many different journals, magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, and other sources at the same time. These can help you find scholarly and popular articles, depending on the database. (See What is Scholarly? for more information.)

Pick a Database

  • Encompass Search finds information by searching through a massive collection of books and scholarly journals, as well as newspapers and magazines, dissertations, conference proceedings, music, video, maps, and more.
  • To find recommendations for subject-specific databases, try our Subject Guides.

Get the Full Text

  • Some databases provide the full text of articles online. Look for PDF or HTML Full Text links or View Now links.
  • If a full text link is not available in the database, use the Check for Full Text button to connect to the article full text from another database or to locate the print/microform version of the journal in the database.
  • If Check for Full Text buttons aren't available, follow the steps below in the "I Already Have the Article Citation..." section.
  • If Trexler Library does not have online, print, or microform access to the article, request a copy of the article from another library with Interlibrary Loan.

I Already Have the Article Citation and Need the Full Text

  • If you have citation information for the article (i.e., journal title, article title, publication year, etc.), type the information about your article in the Article Locator on the library website. If the library subscribes to the full text online or in print, you will be directed to the article.
  • If Trexler Library does not have access to the journal for the year/volume you need, check to see if the article is held elsewhere by typing the article title into Google Scholar.  The link on the right side of the search results page will direct you to full text.  If there is no link, then request a copy of the article from another library with Interlibrary Loan.

Defining Key Terms

You may be wondering what we mean when we refer to scholarly versus popular.

  • Scholarly: In-depth, research-based articles, books, and book chapters, written by scholars and experts and intended for other researchers, experts, and students.
  • Popular: Articles, books, and book chapters written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience in common language (e.g., newspapers and magazines).

Learn more: What is Scholarly?

While we're at it, how about a few more key terms...

  • Empirical: Based on experiment or observation.
  • Literature: Scholarly articles, books, and book chapters published on a particular subject.
  • Peer-Reviewed: A process through which some scholarly articles and book chapters are critically evaluated by experts with in-depth knowledge of the research area before publication in order to ensure the information is valid, credible, well-written, and of high quality. 
  • Primary / Secondary: See the Find Primary Sources guide.  

Verifying Peer-Review

Are you looking especially for peer-reviewed articles? 

  • Many databases will tell you if an article has been peer-reviewed.  You may even be able to use limits or filters in the database to narrow your search results. 
  • If you're still not sure if an article has been peer-reviewed, search the name of the journal in which the article was published in Ulrichsweb Periodicals Directory.  The symbol of a referee's jersey next to the journal name indicates the journal uses peer review.  (Refereed is a synonym for peer reviewed.)  Note, though, that not all content in peer-reviewed journals is actually peer-reviewed; book or film reviews, letters to the editors, opinion columns, and articles without references are typically not peer-reviewed.