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Michigan State University

MC 202 Jezierski: Article Discovery

A guide for article and data discovery at MSU libraries

Finding academic articles

Here are some general tips and databases to help you find research articles on any subject.

1) If you run into a situation where a website is asking you to pay for an article, don't! Look for it in the library catalog and if the library doesn't have it, use Interlibrary Loan (see tab).

2) A general strategy for finding articles is called "reference chaining." This is where you find an article that is particularly useful, and look at what articles it cites and where it was cited to find more articles. This can be especially useful if you find a dissertation on your subject area, as references in dissertations tend to be very thorough. (See the dissertation database below)

3) Citation databases with give you the best interdisciplinary coverage in topics (see below for links to Scopus and Web of Science). They do not hold the articles themselves, only the reference to the articles. This means you may need to search the catalog separately to find articles you discover in these databases. Also, when you cite articles you find in Web of Science and Scopus, do not cite the citation database! Cite the actual journal that the article is published in.

4) To find an article in the library catalog, you can try putting the title into the general search. This will sometimes work. If it doesn't, you can put the title of the journal in the general search, find the journal, and search within it for the specific article. If that doesn't work, I recommend using the journal search here to find the journal you are looking for.

5) If you need to broaden a keyword search to find more results, try using "OR" and add another relevant keyword. If you need to narrow your search, use "AND."

Citation Databases

Michigan State University