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Seven Steps to Library Research: Find Articles

Seven Steps to Library Research - A step-by-step guide to efficient research using your MSJC Library.

Finding Articles

You can use the library's OneSearch catalog feature or choose one of the library's databases to find articles. When using databases, choose a database that seems suited to your particular topic. You can narrow the database list down by subject using the dropdown menu at the top. Or ask a librarian for help figuring out which databases might be best.

Just want to get started? Browse our Popular Databases list for the most frequently used databases.

You can search for articles by keywords, author, title or subjects.

Database Searching

Database Search Tips

Once you select a database, conduct a search using the keywords you identified for your topic.

  • Use the wildcard character * to truncate the main stem of a word to find different versions: pollut* finds pollution, pollute, polluted 
  • Place quotation marks around words you want to search as a phrase: “air pollution” ; “eating disorders” ; “social media” 
  • Brainstorm for words with similar meanings: youth, adolescents, teens, teenagers, “young adults” 
  • Select full-text, scholarly, academic, or peer-reviewed options, if needed. 
  • Browse your results to see if your keywords retrieved articles that appear related to your topic.  
  • Scan the titles and subjects used in articles you like and revise your search using some of the new words you found.  
  • Look for options to narrow your results. In EBSCO databases, browse the "Refine Results" section on the left.
  • Click on titles that look promising and read the abstract or summary. 
  • When you find an article you want to use, look for tools that will allow you to e-mail, print, save, and copy the citation for the article. In EBSCO, the Tools menu is on the right, in other databases the options may be at the top of the page.

Tip! E-mail articles to yourself along with their citations so you don’t lose them. Remember to check computer-generated citations carefully to be sure they are correct!

Articles Tip

Articles are sometimes available in more than one format, such as HTML or PDF. When given the option, choose PDF, as this will be a scanned version of the original printed article and will ensure that any images, charts or graphs, and page numbers will be preserved.