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Using the Library

From the stacks to the databases and beyond!

A-Z Databases

Featured Databases

Databases by Subject

How to use a database? Visual Guide

How to find articles

If you’re looking for article, these steps will help you get you started.

  1. PLAN. First, do a bit of planning before you start your search. What is your topic? What are your subtopics? Writing down these terms will help you narrow and focus your search so that you can find articles that really are about your topic.
  2. SELECT DATABASE. Once you have a few different terms ready, select a database that offers a large collection, such as Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, or Academic OneFile.
  3. SEARCH. Enter your search terms in the search pane. Think of synonyms and combine them with the OR search operator. For example, children OR youth OR adolescents.
  4. SCAN RESULTS. When your search results appear, check how many items you’ve retrieved and start to scan the titles. If the results aren’t relevant, try broadening or narrowing your search. If some of the titles do seem related, you’re in luck! You can use the subject headings to help you find new terms to focus your search even more.  
  5. EVALUATE. Note the type of publication (article, original research, review, opinion, news) and where it was published, e.g., is it published in a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, or a popular source for the general public? Does the publication focus on the specific subject area of your topic?
  6. EXPORT. Print, download, or email the article to yourself, and make sure to save the citation and double check it. There may be errors in the format, so check it against the citation rules. The library has citation guides to help.

Note on Databases!

Databases direct you to a wide variety articles, journals, and periodicals (newspaper and magazines). You should note the name of the database you are using such as "Academic Search Complete" or "Gale Artemis Literary Sources," as EBSCO and Gale are hubs and not the database itself. So when you need a librarian to help you navigate a database they will not know which one you are referring to if you mention "EBSCO" vs. "Academic Search Complete." 

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Library (323) 953-4000 ext: 2400 * Reference (323) 953-4000 ext: 2406 * Circulation/Periodicals (323) 953-4000 ext: 2395