Shield Shield
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.
Help  |  Search  |  Contact Us 
Finding Articles

Why Use Articles For Research?

Articles are often the best resources for research because

  • they are current 
  • they cover very specific subjects and many subjects
  • they can be scholarly or popular
What Are Article Databases?

Article databases are used to find articles published in magazines, journals or newspapers. They contain article references (citations) and full text articles on specific topics. For example, America: History and Life is an article database providing references to scholarly journal articles on the history and culture of the United States and Canada. Other databases cover many subjects such as Academic Search Premier. Article databases are also known as periodical indexes.

Academic Search Premier - A Great Place to Start

Academic Search Premier is an article database which indexes over 8000 magazines and journals, many of which have full text articles you can read online. Print, email or save articles. Please view this three minute online tutorial if you have never used an article database before. The library subscribes to many other databases. Ask a librarian to suggest other databases on your research topic.

Finding Articles


Follow the steps below to quickly and efficiently use library databases to find the articles you need.

1. Clearly define your research topic and need

  • what subject are your researching?
    • think about the subject more broadly or more narrowly 
  • how much information do you need?
  • what type of information do you want?

2. Identify key words that best describe your topic

  • select two or three terms
  • identify possible synonyms
  • consider broader, narrower and related terms

3. Review the Research Tips Guide to learn how to refine your searches using Boolean logic and controlled vocabulary

4. Select the best article databases for your research

  • Select a database corresponding to your subject using the Stewart library Database Finder
  • Almost all databases are available from off campus with your WSU user name and password. Carefully review any instructions on the database pages.  Contact the Reference staff if you have ANY questions or can't  find what you need.
  • Do you need scholarly or popular articles? Use this checklist to identify characteristics of each type.
  • You may need to use more than one database to find the information you need. Use the cross-database search to search multiple databases at one time.
  • Remember, some full text articles are available online, including Academic Search Premier which provides full text for over 4000 journals covering most subjects and perhaps in an electronic journal. Many article databases provide only the citation or reference, not full text.
  • ASK FOR HELP at any time.


5. After retrieving article references from a database:

  • If the article is not full text, click on the Find Full Text check Ejournals to see if the journal you need is fulltext in another database
  • If the journal is not available full text online, check the WSU online catalog to see if  Stewart Library owns the print copy.
  • Write down the call number for the journal/magazine
  • Go to the stacks to retrieve the journal. If it is a very new article (generally less than 6 months old) go to the current periodicals area on the middle level. If it is an older issue, go to the General Collection on the top level to find the bound issues of the magazine or journal on the shelf
  • If the article is not full text, and not available in Stewart Library, use Interlibrary Loan to order the article from another library. Articles often arrive within a few days.
  • Ask Reference librarians for help as needed or call 626-6415.

Complete the following exercise to practice using an article database. 

  • Open a second Web window. You can then use the task bar at the bottom of the screen to go back and forth between this page and the pages used for practice.
  • Open the Stewart Library home page, and click on Database Finder
  • Find the list of article databases available, by subject or by title 
  • If using the databases off-campus, enter your WSU user name and password when prompted
  • Select an article database that is appropriate for your subject, ask for help anytime
  • Choose at least two keywords 
  • Using your keywords, create an appropriate search statement using your keywords and
    Boolean logic and/or truncation or proximity
  • Enter your keyword(s) into the database search box 
  • Find full text articles and/or article references to articles on your topic 
  • Print, save, copy or email articles or references 
Updated December 30, 2008 . Please send comments to Carol Hansen
Weber State University, Stewart Library. Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved.

Stewart Library - Weber State University - Ogden, Utah 84408. (801) 626-6403 - Copyright © 2008 ALL Rights Reserved