Searching for Articles using Concepts
See our video describing the basics of searching and obtaining articles from our two major journal index tools.
Video about Open Access linking options.
Do not start your searching in Google Scholar - even though it does provide free searching of a selection of the academic journal literature. While these results are more reliable peer-reviewed materials than those found in a basic Google search, you will not have access to all the full-text articles that are available to you through (1) our multidisciplinary Central Index database, or (2) our Academic Search Complete core journal-article aggregator. In addition, Google Scholar results are not as comprehensive as those found in our subject specific journal indexes.
The most convenient way to locate easily available full-text journal articles across many disciplines is to search the aggregator database Academic Search Complete This database of full-text articles is not comprehensive—it attempts to provide basic coverage of many topics within a database of core journals. For more complete and deeper searching of subjects, see the tools listed below.
Start your search for articles using keywords. Remember to use synonyms and to refine your initial results using both additional terms and/or the facets (sub-clusters of results by subject terms, date, material type, and so on) on the left side of the results page. You may also find the Advanced Search options helpful in limiting searches by type of information, type of results, specific populations, and other variables.
Consider using the facets on the left column of the results page to limit your results to peer reviewed materials - those reviewed for accuracy and balance by other professionals.
The Central Index searches across thousands of journals. and a variety of other materials. The Central Index is the best place to start serious research across most disciplines.
The default result screen displays only those materials that are immediately available, but you can use the "Expand My Results" option on the top left of the results screen to expand your search into thousands of additional materials that may be freely available or may need to be Borrowed.
Because this database covers so many types of materials, you may want to consider using the facets on the left column of the results page to limit your results to peer reviewed materials - those reviewed for accuracy and balance by other professionals.
SUBJECT SPECIFIC DATABASES
There are also subject-specific databases in Nursing, Business, and Education that will lead a researcher to journal articles using keywords or subject headings. The best method for comprehensive discovery is to use the most relevant database first, and then supplement the initial search with databases offering either related subject coverage or supplementary navigation and discovery techniques (for example, citation tracking and Find Similar semantic analysis).
Start by identifying one or two key journal-index databases for your subject area from the subject guides created by our subject librarians.
Start your search for articles using keywords. Remember to use synonyms and to refine your initial results using both additional terms and/or the facets (sub-clusters of results by subject terms, date, material type, and so on) on the left side of the results page. You may also find the Advanced Search options helpful in limiting searches by type of information, type of results, specific populations, and other variables
HINT: Using subject facets removes materials that are irrelevant because of terminology confusion—for example, it would allow a researcher to easily remove plasma-in-physics articles from plasma-in-blood search results.
Once you have completed your searching in your primary database(s), you may want to expand your searching using
In addition to performing searches at the point-of-need, successful search strategies can be saved and run automatically against new material added to the databases. These Autoalerts will send email results to you whenever a new article matches your search terms. This is a great way to maintain a competitive advantage over those who only occasionally think to search for new publications.
Another way to stay on the leading edge of research is to search pre-prints of manuscripts that are not yet submitted or accepted for publication in a journal. The most comprehensive pre-print search engine is OSF Preprints.
NOTE: Gold Rush tool ... find where journals are indexed.
NOTE: Dimensions is an experimental search tool that includes citations, altmetrics, grants, and other metadata elements.
Open Access Discovery Tools
Open Access linking options from our catalogs/indexes.
There are several browser extensions or plug-ins you can install that will search compiled collections of open access articles, as well as search the internet for an open access version of a desired article.