How Do I...—> Find Articles

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What are you looking for?

The Library provides access to databases that index, abstract, and often provide full text to articles from magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals. Where to start will depend on the research you are doing and the type of information you need to find:


  • Ask a librarian. Bring a copy of your assignment to the reference desk and the librarians can help you get started.


Research on a broad topic

  • Use the Database Locator to find the subject category that best describes your topic. You may find your topic falls under more than one potential category. Use a Multi-Subject database if you're not sure where to start.
  • Searching for broad topics (i.e., a paper on "philosophy") can overwhelm you with articles from a database. Look over your notes or read a general reference work in the field to try and pick a specific issue or question within your broad category.

Current news or social issue

  • Try the resources under Newspapers/Current Events for reporting and general commentary on recent events and social issues.
  • Opposing View Points is a database with essays arguing for and against topics of the day such as pornography and environmentalism.

Specific type of article (empirical study, book review...)

  • Many databases will allow you to search for article types (reviews, studies, etc.). Use the advanced search screen and check the list of limiters available.
  • Not every database will include the same article types.

An article from a peer reviewed (refereed) journal

  • Peer review is a special process whereby articles published in a particular journal are first read by a panel of experts to ensure the quality of the research. Many databases will include a checkbox by which you can limit a search to just peer reviewed journals.
  • If you're not sure that an article you have found is peer reviewed, research the journal in Ulrich's Periodical Directory, which will tell you if it is.

Articles published more than twenty years ago

  • Before there were databases, there were print indexes. These help you find citations to articles earlier than most databases will cover (check the info icon next to a database to see how far back in time it extends).
  • Use a print index to pinpoint articles on your topic, then use the Journal Locator and/or Interlibrary Loan to find the full text.
  • Examples of print indexes at Dowling include:

An article from a specific journal

  • Type the name of the journal in the Journal Locator to find out if that journal is covered by any of our databases.
  • Most databases will contain a section on sources or publications, which will also tell you what journals they cover.


Full text for a citation

  • When you have a citation, the following will help you track down the full text:
    • Enter the name of the journal in the Journal Locator. The results will tell you if it is carried in full text on any of our databases. If it is, the link will take you into the database.
    • If it's not, you can:
      • Interlibrary Loan the article (which will be delivered either in paper or electronically through e-mail)
      • Check the Long Island Union List of Serials to see if any local libraries carry the right volume of your journal. Most libraries will allow you to make photocopies.
Last updated January 10, 2005 by Chris Kretz