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English 1213: Composition II: Articles

Article basics

Articles from magazines and journals allow us to take the information we get from a book and make it much more current (in some cases). The Library has access to over 350 databases for students to use in their research.

What is a database? A collection of information (data) which is arranged in individual records and is searchable. An example of a database is a city phone book; a record includes a person's name, address and phone number. These records are searchable by the last name in each record. Usually when someone refers to something as a database, they are referring to an electronic database.

What does "full-text" mean? Some electronic databases provide the text of articles they index along with the citation and abstract. Full-text articles usually do not include any pictures or tables that accompanied the original article, unless they are saved as an Adobe Acrobat File.

Learn more about databases and how to use them with our database tutorial.

Finding magazine, journal and newspaper articles

To find articles from magazines, newspapers and journals, we use a database. The Library has access to over 350 databases for students to use in their research. There is a database for just about every subject you can imagine, and in many cases, many databases for a given subject.

Good databases for starting your research are:

ProQuest and Academic Search Premier are general subject databases. That is, they cover nearly all subjects, but not in-depth.

After you have searched in ProQuest and Academic Search Premier, you might want to search other databases. We have detailed research guides for many subjects that can help you locate appropriate databases.

You can also search for a specific journal using the Library Search system just in case you need to read a specific article and you have the journal name, article title, author, volume, date and page number. If you're looking for articles by topic, however, you'll want to start with a database such as ProQuest.

How do you get to the full-text of articles?

If you encounter an article in any database which is not available full-text, look for this icon OSU Get Article

If you click on the image, you will be taken into Article Linker, a service we provide that tells you if full-text is available in another database (remember, there are 350 databases, many with full-text.) If there is no full-text available, you will be prompted on the screen to check the library catalog to see if the item is available in print, or to request an interlibrary loan.

Using Google Scholar

You may already be familiar with Google Scholar, where you can find academic articles and books using the familiar Google interface. Like any general subject database, it covers a lot of different information, but it's important to remember no single place--the library, Google, or anywhere else--is going to contain everything. It's always a good idea to search in multiple places to make sure you're casting a wide net and finding the most relevant sources you can.

How to search Google Scholar

  • Use the same skills you've been practicing in other places. Think of clear, concise search terms, and follow the search tips outlined in this guide.

  • Plug in a citation from another article. If you've already found a great source, look at their reference page.  Type the authors and title in the Google Scholar search box, and see if you can track down the sources they used. This is one of the best ways to quickly find other relevant articles.

What happens if you find a good source, but can't find the full article?

Google has a lot of information, but not all of it is available for free. Many times, you will find an article using Google Scholar, only to realize that it's telling you to pay $50 or more if you want to read the whole thing. Don't do it! The library can get almost any article you need, at no cost to you. How?

  • If you're in the library searching, a link should appear on the right-hand side of your results, that says, "Full Text @ OSU Libraries." Select that to find out which database has the full text available to you.

  • If you're not in the library, or don't see that "Full Text" link in the results page, go to Library Search and plug in the article title. There's a good chance we have access to it through one of our databases, and you should be able to find it fairly quickly.

  • If you can't find it in the library, request it! You can request a copy through Interlibrary Loan, and we will find it for you. If it's a single article, you'll get a PDF copy. If it's a entire book or journal, you'll be sent a hard copy. It may take a few days to find it and get it to you, so make sure to build time into your research and writing process, in case you end up needing to request items we don't have in a database or in print.

Having trouble finding something? Let us know! We have librarians who are happy to help you locate the resources you need, all you have to do is ask. Find all the ways to contact us on our Ask Us page.

Need more help?

Visit our tutorials page to find tips and tricks for every part of your research process.