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Things Fall Apart: Find Articles

What's a Database? How do I find Articles?

Databases are essentially electronic catalogs that provide access to journal articles. Scholarly journals contain articles that are written by people who are experts in that field. 

Databases usually focus on a specific subject area, but many cover a wide range of subjects. You must select the proper database to use for your research. Review the database descriptions to find the one that best suits your needs. Begin your search by simply entering keywords into the basic search box.

The database will provide you with the citation information, meaning the title of the article, the author, and publication information and usually an abstract. Sometimes, the library will carry the articles in full text and other times, it'll only provide you with an abstract.

Basic Searching

Searching a database is different from searching on Google. Databases are not a one-stop shopping spot. First, you have to select the right database to use. If you’re doing research on hate crimes in America, you would want to use a database that covers social sciences and not one covering business.

Keyword Searching

Once you’ve gathered some information from your preliminary searching, you’ll want to start searching through the databases for articles to support your argument for your paper. Basic search boxes are designed for users to simply enter keywords or phrases. Keyword searching is flexible but it can sometimes yield many results. It’s a good place to start and browse results to see what kind of articles are available.

Subject Headings
You may notice subject headings or descriptors that are listed with the article. This controlled vocabulary can help you broaden or narrow your search to those articles defined by those terms and the results are usually very relevant to the topic.

Full Text Vs. Abstracts

You can usually identify full-text articles with the Adobe Acrobat PDF symbol or else it'll say full-text in HTML. If you read an abstract for an article you're interested in and it is not available in full-text, take note of the citation for the article and request it through our interlibrary loan form to see if we can borrow the article from another library. It's easy. Just fill out this form with all the information as accurately as possible. Most interlibrary loans take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to retrieve.

Selected Databases

For a list of all the databases, click here to our Services at Cushing Library LibGuide. If you're searching from home or anywhere off campus, you would need to logged on as an HNU user. Please refer to our Remote Access Guide to learn how to log in.

Search the Literature Resource Center or the other selected databases listed for literature criticism or book reviews.