Library Research: A Step-By-Step Guide

Use this guide to learn more about the research process

Related guide

Interlibrary Loan for finding articles

Can't find the full text of an article?

  1. Note down the author, title of article, name of the magazine, journal or newspaper, and date of publication
  2. Make an Interlibrary Loan Request using the link below. Digital articles will be sent directly to you if you provide your email. Print articles are sent to Holman Library. We can arrange to send them to you or you can pick them up from the library.
    • Note: Requesting electronic articles from another library often takes 1-3 business days, or up to a week for physical item requests.
  3. Or Ask a Librarian for help by using the chat feature on the "Get Help" tab of this guide!

Step 2d: Find articles

Why use different types of articles?

Different articles give you different flavors of info:
  • Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed or Academic Journal articles are good to find results of scientific or academic research.  They are written for scholars and provide in-depth analysis of a very specific area of your topic 
    *** For more in-depth info on scholarly journals, click:
  • Trade Journal articles are good for finding articles written for specific professions (police officer, veterinarian...etc.)  They often analyze new trends, research, tools or techniques important to their area of work 
  • Popular Magazine articles are good for summarizing information on a topic for the general public.  They often provide a background, summarize research findings, and provide some analysis of a topic
  • Newspaper articles are good for facts and up-to-date information.  They often provide little analysis of a topic. 
  • Evaluate articles to determine if they are credible sources for your research

Find articles in the databases

Finding Articles in the Databases

The databases listed below are just a few that can help you find journal, magazine, and newspaper articles that are often not freely available through the internet.

Search Articles Using Primo One Search

Instead of searching in the databases directly, you can use the main catalog on the Holman Library homepage to search for books, ebooks, videos, and articles from journals, magazines, newspapers, and more. 

Find Scholarly Articles

Find Scholarly Articles

  • Scholarly articles are housed inside of journals - sometimes those journals/articles are called Academic or Peer-Reviewed or Refereed
  • Often library article databases will help you limit your results to scholarly articles (see image below)
  • However, you should still use the "scholarly journal" Or "Academic Journal" limiters in the databases to determine if your article is truly scholarly or not.
    • The image on the left shows how and where to limit in the EBSCO databases, like Academic Search Complete and ERIC. 
    • The image on the right shows how and where to limit in the ProQuest databases, like ProQuest Combined Databases or Nursing and Allied Health Source

(Click on images to enlarge)

screenshot in proquest showing the option to click on scholarly journal articles, peer reviewed, and full text

screenshot of a search in the ebsco  databases showing the boxes to check to limit to scholarly peer reviewed articles, academic journals, and full text

Search strategies

Using the advanced search options in the database

The image below shows how you can use quotation marks to limit to exact phrases 

  • for example "Washington State" or "Genetically modified foods" or "stand your ground laws"
  • using quotation marks around an exact title is also helpful "Gun Laws in Washington State: A Geographic Study"

The image also shows how you can use the built in Boolean tools using the drop down to change from AND, OR, NOT or how you can add those tools to the search yourself. 

(Click on image to enlarge)

screenshot of an advanced search, showing how to use quotation marks around phrases to search for an exact phrase like "genetically modified foods" as well as how to use the Boolean AND and OR, such as with Hunger OR famine AND "genetically modified foods"

Using Google Scholar to find Peer-Reviewed Research

Understanding How to Use Google Scholar 

Google Scholar can be very useful in finding about articles on a topic. You may not always get free, immediate access to the content it shows you, but Google Scholar can certainly be a great place to get started and see what kinds of content is out there.

Here are some features as highlighted in the image below.

  • You can click on the title of an article to read the abstract and information about where the article was published.
  • By clicking on the small quotation mark icon that appears under the article, you can see a list of citations, in various citation styles including MLA and APA, for the source. Be sure to check these against a style guide as they may be incorrect or incomplete.
  • You can limit by date, or a date range to ensure you're finding the most relevant content - and depending on your topic, that might be important.
  • If the article is freely available online, there is often a PDF icon and link off to the left. 
  • And, if in your settings, you at GRC as one of your libraries, the results page will even note and link you to articles housed in the GRC library databases. 
  • You can request any articles that you learn about here, but are not given full-text access to, through Interlibrary Loan. Use the links for more information about this process or talk to a librarian if you need help!

(click on image to enlarge)screenshot of the results page of a search in Google Scholar with arrows pointing to the tools mentioned in the text before the image