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CMP 200 - Walters: Finding Scholarly Journal Articles

This guide is to accompany the assignment for Professor Walters' CMP 200 class


Databases for Magazine and Journal Articles


Start with the most specific search  and get broader until you have a set of titles that will work for you.

Academic Search Complete from EBSCO. Almost all the entries in this database have the article attached, which means it is a "full-text" database.  Also, it is part of the EBSCOHost interface, so you can use MY EBSCO to save the citations.  If you don't know about MY EBSCO, you should check it out and set up and account. 

Research Library from Proquest, like Academic Search Complete, is a database that has magazines, newspapers, and journals on all subjects. Proquest uses a difference search algorithm, so always check this one too.

JSTOR is the library's largest resource that has only scholarly articles. It contains hundreds of journals on education and may be a good source of statistics or research you can use to argue your point of view.

CQ Researcher reports on 50 different social, political, and current issues every year.  If you can find a report on your topic, it is a gateway to a large number of credible sources, all with links to the original articles.

More databases at:

Finding an article that is not in the library databases

"Dehumanized" by Mark Slouka is not available through the library databases. 
So what is a reputable way to find the full-text of an article that is not in the library databases?

1. Search the journal title on the Internet. Many magazines and journals will give you access to articles in past issues or from past years. For example, Harper's Magazine gives you access to their back issues on the Internet for free. Remember to put the journal title in quotes.

2. Search the title and/or author in GOOGLE SCHOLAR. Google Scholar contains magazine and journal articles when the copyright holder(publisher) permits it. Not all the citations returned with your search will contain the full text. Some make contain only a preview, excerpt, or an abstract.

Search Symbols

?     A question mark  is called a wild card.  In a search, it replaces one character within a word.

  • for example:  you can search Franc?s if you are unsure whether it is spelled with an E or and I.
  • a pound sign (#) is used as a wild card if you want to replace 2 or more letters within a word.

*     An asterisk is used for truncation. It is always placed at the end.  It searches for all words that start with the root phrase before the pound sign. The * represents any number of letters at the end of the word.

  • For example, if you want to search variations of a term, or are unsure of spelling:  white-tai* deer 
    will retrieve both white-tail deer and white-tailed deer (correct form)
  • This also works well for plurals that have different endings, or for alternate spellings for terms that are spelled differently in other English-speaking countries

Keyword searching

KEYWORDS or KEYWORD PHRASES are words or phrases that describe your topic.

Usually descriptive adjective and nouns.

When you do a keyword search in a library database, it searches

  • Title
  • Subject   
  • Abstract
  • Author

Write a sentence describing your topic,

  1. Pick out the important words or phrases -- these are your keywords
  2. Make a list of synonyms for each of the words or phrases
  3. Search and see which are the best for your topic.
  4. Put phrases in quotation marks:  for example "temperature change"