Finding Articles

Finding Articles
Module 5: Finding Articles
This module covers how to use periodical article databases to identify articles on a subject. After completing this module you should be able to:
  • find reference articles
  • distinguish between popular and scholarly periodicals
  • choose an article database appropriate to your information need
  • use it to identify an article on a topic
  • use a database's tools functions to find a citation to an article or email an article to yourself
Finding Reference Articles
Most of this tutorial will focus on how to find both popular and peer-reviewed articles published in periodicals such as magazines, trade magazines, and scholarly journals. 

However, you may also want to look at reference articles as you begin a new research project. Reference articles are authored by experts (such as college professors) but are intended for a general audience rather than a scholarly audience. 

The SCC library has a database dedicated to reference services:  Credo Reference Books. You can find links to this database in the Library Databases A to Z left side menu on the library homepage.

Video Tutorials for Gale Ebooks

Credo How-To Videos
Why Use an Article Database?
When you use an online article database, it quickly scans thousands of issues of many different periodicals to find a match for your search terms.  A database will show you which periodicals have articles on your topic. Otherwise, you would have to look through each issue of each periodical for articles on your topic.

What will you find in an article database?  
You will find articles or citations to articles from different kinds of periodicals.  

What are periodicals?
Magazines, newspapers, and journals are called periodicals because they are issued on a regular or "periodic" basis. Periodicals are usually separated into two major groups: popular and scholarly. If you are able to recognize the differences between a popular and scholarly source, you can focus your research to retrieve only the type of articles you need. There are also periodicals that are called 'trade.'  These periodicals are published for a particular subject area. Articles in trade periodical have a bit more expertise than a general periodical but are not as scholarly as a journal. Click on the link below to see a table that outlines the features of the most common types of periodicals.

Scholarly, Trade or Popular?

Scholarly, Trade, and Popular Articles. “Scholarly, Trade, and Popular Articles.” YouTube, 18 Aug. 2016, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

What's the difference between citation, abstract and full-text in a database?
  • Citation  Some database results may not contain the article itself, but the citation will provide the information that you need to find the article. You can select what citation format you would like (e.g., APA, MLA...) by selecting Cite on the right-hand panel underneath Tools.  
  • Abstract  Many database results also include an abstract or summary of the article's content.
  • Full-text Most SCC Library databases allow you to limit to articles with the complete text available. 

How to access the full text of an article? 
  • In the upper left-hand corner of your article record, you may see options for viewing the article in PDF and/or HTML format. When possible, select the PDF option-- this allows you to see the article's page numbers as they appeared when the article was originally published in a printed or online journal. 
  • In addition, look for the Where Can I Get This? link. If you follow this link and sign in with your StarID and password, you may see options for accessing the article in other ways, including through a different database or via Interlibrary Loan. You can reach out to a librarian (at for help accessing the article. 
Database searching videos
Do you need to learn how to search each individual database? Yes and no. Yes, because databases are produced by different companies and each will have a different 'look.'  But once you've learned the basics, it will be like driving a car you've borrowed from a friend. You know that there's a switch to turn on the lights or the radio -- you just need to locate the controls. Even though they may look different, article databases have similar features. Check the help screens or ask a librarian.  

Watch the video below from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for a demonstration of how to master searching any database. You can find video tutorials about how to use some of the specific article databases here.

How To Use a Database. “How To Use a Database.” YouTube, 30 Jan. 2012, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

Two Types of Databases
There are general databases or subject-specific ones.  Which database to use depends upon your topic.
  •  Is your topic general or cross-disciplinary?  Currently in the news?
If so, start with one of the general article databases. These cover a wide range of subjects and often index a mixture of popular and scholarly sources. Examples of general databases and the kinds of articles they identify are:

Academic Search Premier by Ebsco: includes scholarly articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, trade articles, and book reviews
ProQuest Newspapers: Newspapers
  • Is your topic in a particular subject area?
If so, use a subject database. (If needed, ask a librarian to help you select the best database for your topic area!)

These databases specialize in a particular subject, and many of the articles indexed are from scholarly sources.

Examples of subject databases and the kinds of articles they identify are:

CINAHL - Nursing and Allied Health by Ebsco: Used for nursing, paramedics, and other health professionals

Here's a list of South Central College's library databases by general subject area.
Using Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier is one of the most popular article databases. Academic Search Premier contains both scholarly and popular articles from newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and scholarly journals and includes articles from many different academic disciplines. It is often a great place to start your research. 

Follow the link to view a video tutorial on Searching Academic Search Premier at the South Central College Library
Understanding Scholarly Articles
Many times, your instructor will require scholarly articles. Scholarly articles are also known as peer-reviewed, academic, or refereed. Created by the North Carolina State Universities, the following interactive tutorial will help explain the elements of a scholarly article. when an area of the article is highlighted, click on it for a detailed explanation. When you are done, watch the video from NCSU Libraries on what to look for in a credible source.

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

Evaluating Sources for Credibility

Watch the YouTube video for a demonstration of searching in Academic Search Premier and then try it out for yourself.

EBSCO Academic Search Premier. “EBSCO Academic Search Premier.” YouTube, 7 Oct. 2014, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

Wrap Up
Good Work!
This module showed you how to use article databases to identify articles on a subject.
Now you should be able to:
  • distinguish between popular and scholarly periodicals
  • choose an article database appropriate to your information need
  • use it to identify an article on a topic
  • use a database's tools functions to find a citation to an article or email an article to yourself

 Please continue to Module 6 Using the Web.



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Heather Biedermann

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