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Ekstrom Library

Finding Research Materials: The Basics: Article Searching

Finding Articles

The library subscribes to more than 200 specialized databases that are used to find articles and other sources for academic research. The following are basic steps for finding newspaper, magazine, scholarly journal, and other types of articles in these databases. For more in-depth assistance with this process, please Ask a Librarian.

  1. Choose a database. See our Subject Guides to find databases most suitable for research in your subject area(s). If you aren't sure where to begin, you might start with a general academic database such as EBSCO Academic Search Premier.
  2. Search for relevant articles. When you search a database, it is generally most effective to search using only the key concepts related to your topic, rather than entire sentences or lengthy phrases. For example, "psychology and domestic violence and family" is probably a better search than "psychological impact of domestic violence on families."
  3. Refine your search. As you search, keep your eyes open for other terms that might be useful for additional searches. Scan article abstracts (summaries) and subject classification terms that appear to help focus your search. Experiment with similar and related words in different combinations to see if you can obtain better results.
  4. Find the full text of the article. When you find an article that you would like to read in full, look for links that say "full text." If you don't see a full text link, in most databases, you can click the Find It at UofL button to check for a full text version in another database. If no full text is available, you can then check to see if the article is available in print through the link to the UofL catalog. If the catalog shows that we do not have the publication in which the article appears, click on the Interlibrary Loan link and login (or create an account if you don't already have one). The library will obtain the article from another library and send it to you via email, usually in 3-5 working days.

Journal Finder

Journal Finder can be used to determine whether the library subscribes to an electronic or print version of a particular journal, magazine, newspaper, or other periodical publication. Simply type in the name of the publication you are looking for to search for its availability at UofL. Journal Finder is especially useful for checking on the availability of a known article citation and/or looking for the full text of an article when the FindIt at UofL button does not appear in a database.

For assistance with finding articles or any other aspect of the research process, please Ask a Librarian.