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EDR 610: Finding Articles

1. Learning objectives

This is the second of three lessons for the "Finding Credible Sources" assignment. You will learn to:

  • Identify appropriate article databases for your research.
  • Conduct database searches.
  • Find and access the full-text of articles.

2. Finding appropriate databases

Databases differ by:

  • Subject coverage: Some index articles from a specific discipline, such as medicine or psychology, while other databases cover many different disciplines.
  • Document & publication type: Some databases focus on covering scholarly articles, others include book chapters and more.
  • Time coverage: Some databases index articles published over a hundred years ago or more, while others only index articles published more recently.

The Cline Library website has databases organized by subject area so you can identify those most relevant to your discipline. To find appropriate databases, follow the steps below.

1. To start, go to the Cline Library website and click on the Databases A-Z link located below the Quick Search box.

Databases A-Z under the Search box


2. Use the dropdown menu to narrow the databases by subject. Select Education, Psychology,  or Social Work and SociologyDepending on your topic, you might also want to explore databases in other subject areas.

Subject Dropdown list


3. Conducting a database search

Both the Education and Psychology list the database Academic Search Complete. This is a good database to start with; it is a multidisciplinary database where you can find articles from many other subjects.  Before you begin your search, find the Choose Databases link at the top of the search bar. 

After clicking on Choose Databases a dropdown menu should appear from here you can add more databases from the Education and Psychology lists.  In addition to Academic Search Complete click on: Education Full Text; ERIC; Medline; PsycARTICLES; and PsycINFO.  This will give you a mix of education and psychology focused databases.


4. Smartening-up your search

In the previous lesson, you brainstormed for synonyms and related terms you could add to your search. Here is another effective way to find search terms. Once you have found an article that looks relevant, click on the title to pull up the full record.

In the full record you can find more concepts by looking at the keywords & subject terms.  Read the abstract to make sure the article is relevant to your search.

5. Finding the full-text of an article

The process of tracking down full-text varies from database to database. In the database Academic Search Complete there will be two options.  One is for the PDF Full text which is found at the bottom of the citation.  If Academic Search Complete does not have the full text, there will be a blue button that says find@NAU.

Checking for Full-Text

When you click the link to "Check for Full-Text" you'll get a new window like the one below.  If the content is available, click on the article link.  Don't see a link to "Article"?  Click on "Request it" to start a Document Delivery request.

Clicking Request It will launch Cline Library's Document Delivery service. Using this service, you can obtain articles, books, and media from other libraries  -- at no cost to you! When you click the Request it link, you'll be prompted to log in with your Louie credentials.

  • The details of the article you need will auto-fill the request form when you launch a request from windows like the one above. Articles usually arrive within 24-48 hours and will be delivered to you in an email message with a link to the article. Download the article because the link is only valid for a couple of weeks.
  • The first time you use this service you'll need to register -- make sure to use your NAU email in the registration process. If you live in Flagstaff, you need to choose the loan delivery method called "Hold for Pickup" -- don't worry, electronic materials will still be emailed to you!

In some article databases you might not see the link Check for Full-Text. Instead you might see a button that says ONLINE FULL TEXT, or just a button that says Links. Regardless of the name or its placement on the page, it will lead you to a new window like the one above.

Determining whether you can get direct access to the full-text of an article can be challenging, so do not hesitate to ask for help. Everyone finds it challenging, not just you.

5. Exploring other databases

Each database you try has a different mix of articles, so it's a very good idea to try several, such as:

You can find these databases (and more) by following the instructions in Box 2, above.