Inver Hills Community College - IHCC

Finding Articles

Table of Modules
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General Article Databases
Academic Search Premier (Ebsco) Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains audioelm database
A good place to start research on all academic subjects. This database provides full text for nearly 4,500 journals, including full text for more than 3,600 peer-reviewed titles.

Expanded Academic ASAP (Gale) Restricted Resource Some full text availableelm database
Start your research here on topics across all academic disciplines, from arts and the humanities to social sciences, science and technology. Access full text scholarly journals, news magazines, and newspapers.
Note: 1980 - present, updated daily

Key to Icons

Restricted Resource = Restricted resource
Some full text available = Some full text
findit = OpenURL enabled
Resource contains images = Images
Resource contains video = Video files
Resource contains audio = Audio files
elm = ELM
database = Database
eref = eRef
ebook = eBook

Module 5: Finding Articles
This module covers how to use periodical article databases to identify articles on a subject. After completing this module you should be able to:
  • find reference articles
  • distinguish between popular and scholarly periodicals
  • choose an article database appropriate to your information need
  • use it to identify an article on a topic
  • use a database's tools functions to find a citation to an article or email an article to yourself
Finding Reference Articles
Most of this tutorial will focus on how to find both popular and peer reviewed articles published in periodicals such as magazines, trade magazines, and scholarly journals. 

However, you may also want to look at reference articles as you begin a new research project. Reference articles are authored by experts (such as college professors) but are intended for a general audience rather than a scholarly audience. 

The Inver Hills library has two databases dedicated to reference services: GVRL Ref Books Online (also known as Gale Ebooks) and Credo Reference Books. You can find links to both of these databases in the Database Quick Links drop down menus on the library homepage.

Video Tutorials for Gale Ebooks

Credo How-To Videos
Why Use an Article Database?
When you use an online article database, it quickly scans thousands of issues of many different periodicals to find a match for your search terms.  A database will show you which periodicals have articles on your topic. Otherwise, you would have to look through each issue of each periodical for articles on your topic.

What will you find in an article database?  
You will find articles or citations to articles from different kinds of periodicals.  

What are periodicals?
Magazines, newspapers, and journals are called periodicals because they are issued on a regular or "periodic" basis. Periodicals are usually separated into two major groups: popular and scholarly. If you are able to recognize the differences between a popular and scholarly source, you can focus your research to retrieve only the type of articles you need. There are also periodicals that are called 'trade.'  These periodicals are published for a particular subject area. Articles in trade periodical have a bit more expertise than a general periodical but are not as scholarly as a journal. Click on the link below to see a table that outlines the features of the most common types of periodicals.

Is it a scholarly, trade, or popular?

What's the difference between citation, abstract and full-text in a database?
  • Citation  Some database results may not contain the article itself, but the citation will provide the information that you need to find the article. You can select what citation format you would like (e.g., APA, MLA...) by selecting Cite on the right hand panel underneath Tools.  
  • Abstract  Many database results also include an abstract or summary of the article's content.
  • Full text  Most IHCC Library databases allow you to limit to articles with the complete text available. 

How to access the full text of an article? 
  • In the upper left hand corner of your article record, you may see options for viewing the article in PDF and/or HTML format. When possible, select the PDF option-- this allows you to see the article's page numbers as they appeared when the article was originally published in a printed or online journal. 
  • In addition, look for the Where Can I Get This? link. If you follow this link and sign in with your StarID and password, you may see options for accessing the article in other ways, including through a different database or via Interlibrary Loan. You can reach out to a librarian (at for help accessing the article. 
Database searching videos
Do you need to learn how to search each individual database? Yes and no. Yes, because databases are produced by different companies and each will have a different 'look.'  But once you've learned the basics, it will be like driving a car you've borrowed from a friend. You know that there's a switch to turn on the lights or the radio -- you just need to locate the controls. Even though they may look different, article databases have similar features. Check the help screens or ask a librarian.  

Watch the video below from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for a demonstration of how to master searching any database. You can find video tutorials about how to use some of the specific article databases here


Two Types of Databases
There are general databases or subject specific ones.  Which database to use depends upon your topic.
  •  Is your topic general or cross-disciplinary?  Currently in the news?
If so, start with one of the general article databases. These cover a wide range of subjects and often index a mixture of popular and scholarly sources. Examples of general databases and the kinds of articles they identify are:

Academic Search Premier by Ebsco: includes scholarly articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, trade articles, and book reviews
ProQuest Newspapers: Newspapers

  • Is your topic in a particular subject area?
If so, use a subject database. (If needed, ask a librarian to help you select the best database for your topic area!)

These databases specialize in a particular subject, and many of the articles indexed are from scholarly sources.

Examples of subject databases and the kinds of articles they identify are:

CINAHL - Nursing and Allied Health by Ebsco: Used for nursing, paramedics, and other health professionals
Criminal Justice Periodicals by ProQuest. Good for articles on crime, law enforcement, and criminal justice
General Science Collection by Gale Cengage Learning.  Use for articles on science topics.

Here's a list of Inver Hills library databases by general/cross-disciplinary or subject area.
Using Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier is one of the most popular article databases. Academic Search Premier contains both scholarly and popular articles from newspapers, majazines, trade journals, and scholarly journals and includes articles from many different academic disciplines. It is often a great place to start your research. 

Follow the link to view a video tutorial on Searching Academic Search Premier at the Inver Hills Community College Library
Understanding Scholarly Articles
Many times, your instructor will require scholarly articles. Scholary articles are also known as peer-reviewed, academic, or refereed. Created by the North Carolina State Universities, the following interactive tutorial will help explain the elements of a scholarly article. when an area of the article is highlighted, click on it for a detailed explanation. When you are done, watch the video from NCSU Libraries on what to look for in a credible source.

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article
Evaluating Sources for Credibility

Watch the YouTube video for a demonstration of searching in Academic Search Premier then do the exercise sheet below.

Searching Academic Search Premier at Inver Hills Community College Library

Click on the link below for a Word document with searching exercises. Print or save the document to your computer. Complete the exercises and bring or email it to the librarians at feedback. 

Module 4 Article Searching Exercise
Wrap Up
Good Work!
This module showed you how to use article databases to identify articles on a subject.
Now you should be able to:
  • distinguish between popular and scholarly periodicals
  • choose an article database appropriate to your information need
  • use it to identify an article on a topic
  • use a database's tools functions to find a citation to an article or email an article to yourself

 Please continue to Module 6 Using the Web.

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