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One Book 2019-2020: Immigration, Borders and Education - Behold the Dreamers & Papers: Find a Scholarly Perspective

Article Databases

Using the library's databases

The tool you will use to find scholarly articles is a library periodicals database (this is the same tool you used to find magazine and newspaper articles).

  • Limit to peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles to find scholarly sources. By the way, be sure to still assess if it's a scholarly article. (For example, scholarly journals contain book reviews of scholarly texts. These are not scholarly articles.)

  • To find the most relevant articles, you will need to consider many more. Try multiple keywords and search different databases.

  • Focus primarily on the introduction and discussion/conclusion sections of a scholarly article. That's where they will layout where the scholarship in the field stands, what the article will set out to do, and what the authors learned.

Searching Tips

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles in Library Databases

When searching for articles in library databases, you can limit your search to only scholarly journals. The screenshots of the databases shown below outline where you can limit by source type to find the type of article you need. Remember that academic articles and scholarly articles are the same thing; different databases use the different terms but you can know that they are the same!

Limiting to academic journals in Ebsco's Academic Search Complete database

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search results

Limiting to scholarly journals in ProQuest Combined Databases

Limiting in this database is very similar to other advanced searches in the library's databases. You can click to limit to full-text articles, to peer-reviewed articles, and you can use the built in Boolean tools (AND, OR, NOT) to change your search results and combine your simple keywords.

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This image shows a screeshot of the database search page, showing how you can search by topic or keyword in the search boxes provided, and how you can then check a box to limit to full-text and to scholarly journals

Limiting to full-text results

Research databases include citation information and abstracts for articles they don't necessarily have the right to publish in full text. This is useful to you as a researcher!

You may check the box for Full-Text only results, but if you leave it unchecked, you will learn about highly relevant articles that you can track down elsewhere, whether in another GRC database or in WorldCat.

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limiting to full text

To track down a citation:

  • In your results list, click on Check for Full Text in other sources.

  • That will either:

    • Link directly to the article in another Holman Library database

    • Provide a link to InterLibrary Loan. Click on the InterLibrary Loan link to borrow the article from another library. Articles are generally digitally available and they will be emailed to you quickly.

Or you can use our database Citation Linker to search within Holman Library periodicals databases.

  • Again, put quotation marks around the title to search it as a phrase.
  • Note that you may need to alter punctuation in the title for the search to work.

Tracking citations

Be a power researcher and track down articles you find in a works cited list. 

To do so, either:

  • Type the title and author of the article into the advanced search boxes of the library's Primo One Search Tool.
  • Put the title in "quotes" to keep all the words together.
  • Primo searches across library databases and books. For a deeper search, you may need to go to the individual databases. 

Searching by Subject Terms

Use Subject Terms instead of keywords to find the most relevant articles on a topic.

If you can't figure out what keyword will find you articles on your topic, select Subject Terms (in Academic Search Complete) or the Thesaurus (in ProQuest and browse for the Subject Term used by the database. 

  • Example: Instead of the common expression "blended families," Academic Search Complete uses the Subject Term: STEPFAMILIES.

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subject search showing alternative terms listed in text above image

The Subject Terms list can also help you identify key subtopics, as in the example below. 

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search pointing out the subject terms option on the top menu

Scholarly vs. Popular

Spot the Differences

Contrast the two articles linked below to see how magazine articles and a scholarly article approach the same topic differently.

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image of Diversity on TV article

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article cover

Why use it?

Why Use Scholarly Literature? 

Scholarly literature advances our knowledge in a field of study.

Features of journals
  • written by scholars and subject experts
  • written for other scholars and also read by student researchers
  • dedicated to a specific discipline, like sociology, history, women's studies, etc.
  • offer original research or analysis – or may provide a review of existing research
  • long articles, often 5-15 pages or more, engage with issues at a more substantial level than magazine articles
  • articles almost always include an extensive list of sources at the end (Works Cited, References, Sources, or Bibliography) and comprehensive in-text citations for all claims made in the body of the article
  • published by organizations or associations to advance the body of knowledge


Content adapted from IRIS tutorial, Clark College Library

Search Strategies

Search Tips

  1. AND / OR / NOT help you broaden or narrow your search results:
  • AND narrows and focuses your search - you get fewer results

    • "medical care" AND teen* find information on medical care specific to teens

  • TRUNCATION *: Use an asterisk with the root of a search term to find multiple forms of the word.

    • Teen* = teen, teenaged, teenagers

  • OR broadens your search - you get more results

    • (teens OR youth) searches for both words

  • NOT omits results

    • this can be useful for excluding irrelevant results

  1.  Add one search term at a time, so you understand what works and what doesn't.
  2. Keep searches simple using keywords to capture core ideas. Search on ethics AND medical care AND immigrants rather than: Do immigrant communities receive an adequate standard of health care?
  3. Use a variety of search words to find different results