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Finding Articles on a Topic


When searching for articles on a topic the best places to start your search are the article databases located on the Bailey/Howe Library web site under Find > Articles & More.

Choosing a Database

Choosing which database to search can be difficult. Here are some general recommendations:

  • Start with a General & Multidisciplinary database such as Academic Search Premier or Expanded Academic ASAP.
  • For more in depth research choose a database from the subject lists of databases.
  • Remember that research often crosses subject lines and you might find applicable information in databases from a variety of subjects.

Before You Search

When searching for articles on a topic the first thing you should do is decide what the best keywords are to describe your topic.

Sample Topic: You are in a psychology class and need to find articles about the effect of the media on women's body image and self-esteem.

Suggested search terms and alternate search terms:

Concept One media television advertising
Concept 2 body image self-esteem self-perception
Concept 3 women girls adolescents

Running a Search

To run a search:

  • Under the heading Find click on Articles & More.
  • Select a database from the alphabetical list or one of the subject lists (for this example one option is to look on the list for psychology).
  • Select the database you want (in this case we are using a database called PsycINFO).
  • Enter search terms and any additional limits you want and then click on search.

search screen

Note: In this search the term adolescen* is using truncation to locate any words that start with the same root. Each item located using this search must include the terms media and body image and either the term women or girls or any word starting with "adolescen."
Learn more about truncation in our guide to Search Tips.

Interpreting Your Results

  • After you run your search you will get a list of articles that match your search terms.
  • Review the list and decide which articles best match what you are looking for.
  • Click on the article title to learn more about each article.

Each entry in an article database about an individual article includes the following:

  • Basic information about the article - article title, author, journal title (often called the source), date of publication, and page numbers

Many entries also include:

  • An abstract or short summary of the article
  • A list of terms that describe the contents of the article (often called subjects or descriptors)
  • The full article in either PDF or web format, but many databases do not include full text articles


Advanced Search Options

You can perform more precise searches by using advanced search options. Most article databases will let you set the limits on a search. Options for limits typically include:

  • Where your term is located in the information about the article(for example in the title or the abstract)
  • Date of publication
  • Type of article
  • Additional options that vary from one database to another

Getting the Article

When searching for articles using UVM databases, watch for this icon:

Find at at UVM

Use this button to help you:
  1. link directly to articles online or,
  2. link to a search of UVM Library Catalog to see if we own the journal or,
  3. link to an interlibrary loan form

Sometimes the full text of the article is part of the database but often it isn't. If not, use the Library Catalog (or Find it @ UVM button) to see if UVM owns the journal:

  • Perform a journal title search in the Library Catalog for the title of the journal (not the article title).
  • The Catalog will indicate whether the library owns the journal in print, electronically, or both.
  • If the journal is electronic, there will be a link to the journal from the Catalog.
  • If the journal is in print the Catalog will indicate where it is shelved.
  • When UVM doesn't own the journal you need, you can order it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL)- it's fast and free.
Search for the journal title

Recommended Strategies for Locating Articles on a Topic

  • Use general and subject specific databases.
  • Run multiple searches using a variety of terms – don’t worry about finding the “one best” search statement.
  • Use advanced search options.
  • When you find an item that looks good, click on the subject links to find articles that are similar.
  • Learn more about your topic as you go – what vocabulary is used to describe your topic in the article database you are using?
  • When you read an article consult the footnotes or endnotes to find earlier works on the same topic.

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