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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Library 101 Tutorial

For English 101 Basic information about library research

Recommended Article Databases

Why Find Articles

Articles from published periodicals (magazines, journals and newspapers) are the best source for detailed information on a topic. Articles tend to be about narrower, more focused issues than books. Also, you are guaranteed that the information published in periodicals has gone through an editorial process, and someone is accountable for the information. There are several different types of articles.

  • Not scholarly: news articles, editorials or commentaries; all articles in popular magazines, and trade magazines/trade journals (these two terms are used interchangeably).
  • Scholarly: research-based articles and review articles, published in academic, peer-reviewed journals. 

What do we mean by “not scholarly”?

Not scholarly means that the articles are not research-based and usually written by journalists, not academics. You aren’t likely to find references to other sources.

Types of non-scholarly articles and publications

  • News articles -- more objective, factually based articles written by journalists and found in newspapers or magazines. You could think of them as the “first draft of history”.
  • Editorials or commentaries -- opinion-based articles, rather than a balanced, more objective piece.
  • Popular magazines -- magazines aimed at a broad audience.
  • Trade magazines or trade journals -- magazines aimed at a particular audience, such as people employed in a particular profession.

What do we mean by "scholarly"?

Scholarly means that the articles are written by experts in the field and will contain references or a bibliography of the sources consulted. There are two main types of scholarly articles.

  • Research articles -- the author(s) have done original research and are writing up their findings
  • Review articles -- the author(s) are critically reviewing other people's original research to synthesize what is known about the issue. These articles are extremely useful to understanding your topic!

See the tab Distinguising Scholarly Articles for more detailed information in determining if an article is scholarly.

Searching Article Databases

Basic Search Tips for Any Library Database

  • Exact phrases "in quotes" -- “higher education”
  • Use or for synonyms if you want either term to be present -- athletics or sports
  • Use and if you want all of the terms to be present -- "higher education" and "student athletes"
  • Use an * on the root form of a word to find any version of the root word with different endings -- universit* to find university or universities

Searching an EBSCOhost Database

Let's say you are interested in finding articles about the impact ebooks have on literacy in children. Let's try the education database Education Research Complete.

Type in your search terms.

  • Put one concept per box, with an or in between synonyms.
  • Type in one term or a “simple phrase”. Do not type in a string of words or an entire sentence.

results for search in an EBSCOhost database

Narrowing Resultsscreen shot of limiters Source Types and Subject: Major Heading

We have 159 results -- we can narrow further. The database wants to help us narrow down. Note the various limiters on the left side:

  • by Source Type: academic journals (scholarly) vs. magazines or newspapers
  • by Subject: Major Heading (electronic books and literacy look useful) -- NOTE: narrow by subject one at a time, rather than checking both at once!

If the articles seem too specific or too technical, try narrowing to magazine articles.

Reviewing Your Results

Get more info: For more information about the article, such as a summary, 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.

Note length of the article: How many pages is it? If it’s less than 1 page (1/3p or 1/8p), it’s probably not worth your time.

Finding the Full Text

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 Check for Full Text iconor a hyperlink that says EWU - Check for Full Text.

Clicking the Check for Full Text button in the databases brings up a screen like this...

result screen for Check for Full Text

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 Elsevier ScienceDirect Journals Complete.

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 and click 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).

Step 3: If the article is not available full text, and we do not have it in print/microfilm, 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 5 days. You will be notified via your EWU email that the article is available for you to download. (Directions are in the email.) 

Save Relevant Articles

When you find articles 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.