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Michigan State University

LB 133 - 010: Information Overload, Dr. Bergman: Article Research

Articles - the basics

Articles contain the most current information published in a field of study. The Library Catalog contains the titles to all of the print and electronic format journals to which we subscribe.  The Catalog does not list the articles within the journals.  The specific articles can be found in article databases.

Most professors and researchers prefer articles that are "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" in nature.  Characteristics of scholarly journals are that they have the following qualities:

  • The articles contain original research (such as scientific experiments, surveys and research studies)
  • A list of references or sources is provided at the end of each article
  • An editorial board, composed of experts in the field, reviews articles to decide whether they should be accepted; this is also known as "refereed," "peer-reviewed," "professional," or "academic".
  • Uses a specialized vocabulary for that field.
  • Contain few if any advertisements. If included, they are highly specialized and specific to scholarly discipline (i.e. specific laboratory equipment, medical tools and drugs).
  • The table located here: Popular vs. Scholarly Periodicals can help you make the distinction.

If you are still uncertain about the scholarly nature of a journal, you all look up the title or ISSN in the periodical database Ulrichs Periodical Directory (UlrichsWeb).  This database will tell you about the journal including the nature, it's audience, and in which databases it is indexed and abstracted. 

Article Databases

Citation Search

Citation searching

  • If you have a citation to an article, the easiest way to locate the article is to look up the title of the article using SearchPlus. You may want to enclose the title in quotes [" "], aand possibly include the title of the journal also.
    • Example: Michael Lynch, “Science in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Moral and Epistemic Relations between Diagrams and Photographs,” Biology and Philosophy 6 (1991): 205-26.
    • Example: Jimena Canales, “Photogenic Venus: ‘The “Cinematographic Turn” and Its Alternatives in Nineteenth-Century France,” Isis 93 (2002): 585–613.
  • Another way to locate the article is to look up the title of the journal in the catalog
    • Identify whether we own the journal and the format, print or electronic. 
    • If in electronic format, do we have that year/volume? If yes, you can click on the link provided to go directly to the online articles and find the one you need. 
    • If it is not online, do we have it in print?  If so, identify the call number and go to the stacks to find the proper volume and issue.  If we do not own the journal or issue, you can request the article through Interlibrary Services.
    • Example: Simmons, “The humanities strengthen the study of science,” Inside Higher Ed, August 14,


Suzanne Teghtmeyer
Main Library
366 W. Circle Dr.
East Lansing, MI 48824

Website / Blog Page

Requesting Articles

  • Call MSU: (517) 355-1855
  • Visit:
  • MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.
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