I have 4 article database suggestions for you, because each has its strengths and weaknesses.
The library databases help you identify where the article is coming from. And the limiter to scholarly, peer-reviewed journals is prominent in virtually all of our article databases.
But it isn't as simple as clicking the limiter, because this limits the source to a scholarly journal, but not the individual articles. Scholarly journals occasionally publish news articles or editorials. Therefore you need to evaluate the specific article to see if it is scholarly.
1. Is there a bibliography or list of references?
Scholarly knowledge builds on what other scholars have stated. If the article does not include references to other scholars’ analysis, as well as listing the sources the author(s) used, it is not scholarly.
2. Is it lengthy?
While there are exceptions, most scholarly articles are quite lengthy -- 10 to 30 pages long. If you find a short article in a scholarly journal, it’s likely a book review or some short editorial - not what you are looking for as a scholarly source. (Though the book review may be useful to determine if a particular book is relevant and worth perusing.)
3. Is the article an in-depth analysis of the work(s)?
As you become more familiar with college-level research, you will soon learn to spot scholarly articles by the abstracts or summaries very, very quickly! Even the title of the article usually clues you in that it is a detailed critique of X.
Basic Search Tips for Any Library Database
Searching MLA International Bibliography
MLA is the most comprehensive database for literary criticism. It indexes over 3,000 journals, as well as books, book chapters, and dissertations, back to 1923. However, it can be somewhat frustrating to search because the vast majority of the time, there is no abstract or summary of the work. You are keyword searching the title of the article/book and subject headings. (And for older articles and books, the subject headings are quite broad and not very helpful.)
Type in your search terms.
The database wants to help you narrow down. Note the various limiters on the left side:
Reviewing Your Results
Get more info: For more information about the article/book chapter/book, click on the hyperlinked title, or hover over the magnifying glass icon next to the title.
Re-sort the results: These results are by relevance, or which ones have our keywords the most frequently. You can change to by date if you wish.
Finding the Full Text of Articles
When you are searching in one of the library databases and the article in question isn't available full text right there, look for this icon or a hyperlink that says EWU - Check for Full Text. Click on the icon or link, and this will bring up a new window that looks similar to the one below:
Step 1: If the article is available online, it will say Fulltext available at the top. (It looks like a hyperlink, but it is a link to take you to the page you're already on.) Under View It you will see links to the databases that have the article. In the example above the article is available in JSTOR.
Step 2: If the article is not available full text, it will say Check availability. To see if we have it in print or microfilm, scroll down to Find in a Library. If we do have at least one issue of the source, it will give you the holdings record for that source (date range held, location, and call number). In this case, we have print copies of the journal from 2000-current.
Step 3: If the article is not available full text, and we do not have it in print/microfilm, go back to the View It part and click the link Request this article using Interlibrary Loan (in the middle under Can't find it? -- see image above). You will need to log in using your NetID/SSO. Verify that the fields were filled out correctly and click the red Submit Request button. Articles usually take around 3-5 days. You will be notified via your EWU email that the article is available for you to download. (Directions are in the email.)
Finding the Entire Book
MLA will also give you results found in books. Right now, the Check for Full Text button is not working properly to locate the book. Just copy/paste the title of the book into the EWU Library Catalog.
Save Relevant Articles
When you find results you would like to examine further, click the link Add to Folder. Once you are finished, click Folder View in the gold Folder has items box on the right side of the screen. You can email all the results to yourself.