Articles are found in Journals.
Journals are found either by title or through Databases.
Databases are found by title or subject.
Library Subject Guides are a good place to start looking for information. Each of the over 80 guides lists resources that are the best for a given subject.
Databases A-Z list is good if you know the name of the database you want to use.
eJournals A-Z list is good if you want to jump directly into a journal you want to use. Especially good if you have a citation and are trying to find a specific, known article.
What is a scholarly article?
A scholarly article appears in a publication, such as a journal, which is made up of articles on a narrow topic and which document and discuss the results of original research. Authorship is usually by one or all of the researchers who did the research. Publishing in a scholarly journal is a method researchers use to communicate their research and share with other scholars in their field of study. The content usually includes a review of literature previously published on this topic, methodolody used in the study, and the findings. The audience for these articles is usually discipline specific, and as a result the language in articles is often technical and discipline-specific. Articles in scholarly publications have gone through an editorial review by a panel of experts (peer-review) to ensure that the article has met the requirements of a scholarly article. Many scholarly periodicals are only available through libraries. An increasing number are also available as open access publications.
What is a popular article?
A popular article appears in a magazine or newspaper that you may buy at the supermarket. The content in these publications often covers current events or summarizes research done by others. The content in these publications is often brief, written in simple language, and often includes pictures and advertisements. Authors are not always named, and sources are not always identified.
A good search term is the key to effectively and rapidly finding information on the internet. Check out the Unofficial Google Advanced Search
1) Be specific. Consider including the location, time period, synonyms or specific terminology.
For example, the term ‘eating disorders’ might become ‘anorexic eating disorders in the 1980’s among men’.
2) Link your terms in specific ways. Using AND, OR, NOT can structure the search engines' assumptions about the order in which the terms should appear in a webpage. A better search term is: ‘anorexic AND eating disorders AND 1980’s AND men’
3) Get rid of what you don’t need or want. Since anorexic is a specific type of eating disorder, we really don’t need 'eating disorder' if we have 'anorexic'.
4) Broaden terms to capture variation with * (asterisk). For example, a search for grad* will search for a variety of terms which build on that stem such as graduate, graduating, graduates, etc.
If you don't want webpages with a certain word, use the NOT or the minus sign to get rid of them. For instance, if you want to know what Josiah Carberry gets up to when he's not at Brown, type in 'Josiah Carberry -Brown'.
The minus sign is another great way to screen out whole categories of webpages that you don't want. Maybe you want scholarly information and you know that it's unlikely that you'll find it on a commercial website. To get rid of all commercial websites, add this to the end of your search term: '-site:.com'.
The new search term is: ‘anorexic AND 1980’s AND men -site:.com’
4) Search for phrases: If you're searching for a specific term, and you know the words should always appear in a particular sequence, then search for the entire phrase by using double quotation marks.
The new search term is: anorexic AND 1980’s AND men AND "body dysmorphia" -site:.com
Each search engine has its own way of searching. Understanding a little bit about how a search engine decides what to show you can help you use the search engine more effectively. For instance, Google uses hundreds of factors when considering which pages to show you, but some of the more important factors include
If many other people have linked to your website, and you’ve entered correct search terms in both the text and the code of your website, and you have many pages, your website will be ranked higher in Google searches. There are people who make a nice living off of tweaking websites so that they are ranked highly by Google. It’s called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and most commercial companies employ whole departments that make sure their websites come up first when you search.
Most colleges, universities, non-profit organizations, and average people cannot afford to spend a lot of time tweaking their websites like this. So when you want to find non-commercial, local, or very recent information, you have to know specialized techniques.
Yahoo tends to categorize webpages based on key terms and then look at rank based on ‘popularity’. Similarly, the library Discovery tool uses a categorization based on key terms and only searches materials that the library owns or subscribes to.
Now, if you don’t want to be an SEO specialist and you don’t want to stay abreast of all the changes that each search engine makes, how do you find what you want? Use more than one.
Did you know that there are over fifteen general purpose search engines and many more specific ones? Check them out!
What should be the scope of my the Literature Review?
In general you want to throw out a wide net and read, read, read. It depends. How many sources do you need? What types of sources? Which citation style should you use? What time period should it cover? Is currency important? What do you need to be aware of related to scholarly versus popular materials?
How do I know I am done?
One key factor in knowing you are done is that you keep running into the same articles and materials. With no new information being uncovered you can assume you've exhausted your current search and should modify search terms, or perhaps you have reached a point of exhaustion with the available research.
How do I organize my literature review?
There's a lot of information out there. How do you decide whether it's good information? Use the following criteria and see if your information passes muster.
Currency - Is it the most up-to-date information on the topic?
Relevancy - Is the information fully relevant to your topic? Does it cover all aspects, or is it just tangentially related?
Authority - Is the author qualified to be speaking or writing about the topic? Does he/she have degrees related to the topic? If there isn't an author, how do you know that the information is reliable?
Purpose - If the website is selling something, then it has an inherent bias and you should be very skeptical. Even if you agree with their point of view, it's better to find a source that is unbiased and as objective as possible.
Check out the following website and vote! Did you consult outside resources to come to your conclusion? How much weight did you give graphics and presentation?