How Do I...?
How Do I Find Articles on a Given Subject?
To begin locating articles on your topic quickly, start with the Academic Search Premier database, accessible directly on the Library's homepage. It covers many subject areas and contains scholarly (also called academic) journal articles, popular magazine articles, and newspaper articles. You can read the full text of many of these publications online.
ProQuest Newspapers, also accessible on the Library's homepage, is another important resource. Search ProQuest to locate full text articles from national and international newspapers.
Finding articles on a particular subject is often a two-step process.
The first step is to search an article database in order to find one or more citations of articles that are of interest to you (a citation for an article includes the article's author(s), title, journal title, date, and page numbers). Article database are collection of article citations. Some databases have a very narrow focus (e.g., child welfare), some are broader (e.g., covering topics in education or religion), and some include articles on a large variety of subjects. Some article database have the full text of the articles attached to the citations, but many do not. If the article you want is not full-text, then the second step is to determine whether it is available electronically in another database or in print in the library.
Step One: Searching Article Databases and Indexes
- Go to the library's homepage.
- You now have three options:
If you are looking for magazine or journal articles, locate the "Find Articles" section. Choose the academic discipline that most closely relates to the subject you want to search. Click the Go button. After choosing an academic discipline, you will be presented with a list of related article databases. Many of the links include a brief description to help you decide the most appropriate choice.
If you are unsure about what discipline most closely matches your subject, click on the Academic Search Premier article database at the library homepage.
If you are looking for newspaper articles, click on the ProQuest Newspapers link or choose "Newspaper Articles" from the Find Articles dropdown menu near the top of the screen for more options.
- Once you have found a database that looks interesting, click its link to enter. (If you are off-campus, you may be asked to log in. Your Barcode number is the 14-digit Library # on your Concordia College ID. Your password is your last name.)
- Unfortunately, every database works a little differently, but they all have the similar features. In general, you should try to break your topic idea into keywords that you can use as your search terms. Also think of related concepts or synonyms for your search terms. Some databases have tools like a thesaurus that will attempt to match the words you're using to the words that the database uses for the same idea. For example, articles about the "Vietnam War" might be listed under "Vietnamese Conflict." Some databases allow you to restrict your search to articles that are scholarly or peer reviewed.
Consider how recent or historical your search needs to be. Many article databases only index articles from the mid-1980s to the present. If you need to do historical research, you might need to use a paper index. Paper indexes covering a variety of subjects are available in the library.
Step Two: Locating the Articles
- If you find an article citation that looks interesting, look for a "full text" or HTML or PDF link to access the article electronically. If there is no link to the complete article available, look for a Find It button. A window will pop open where you may have one or more options. If the journal, magazine, or newspaper is available electronically within another article database, one or more options will be listed under the heading Concordia's Electronic Collections. Click on one of the links that appears after the phrase "Full text available via..." to access the journal, magazine, or newspaper.
- If there is no electronic version of the article available, Concordia may have the article in print. Click on the "Search MnPALS" link under the heading Concordia's Print Collections to search Concordia's online library catalog. If you find a match, visit the library and locate the journal, magazine, or newspaper in the Periodicals section (south side of the library). Be sure to bring the title of the magazine, journal, or newspaper, the date, and the page numbers of the article with you.
If you cannot find an appropriate database or cannot figure out how to search a particular database, ask a librarian.