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Michigan State University

NSC 100 & NSC 200 (Drew Scholars)

Article Searching

Searching for Articles Flowchart

Try Library Search

The Library Search lets you search for scholarly, trade and popular articles, as well as books, movies, and many other types of materials.


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Try a science database

These databases contain scholarly, trade and popular articles from many sciences disciplines.


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Still can't find what you need?

Try a specialized article database related to your subject, especially of you are looking for scholarly or trade articles. Common subjects are listed below.


Tips for Searching

Tips for Searching

1. Use keywords

If you are starting your search, trying use keywords, rather than full sentences.


  • ocean acidification rather than How does ocean acidification happen in oceans?
  • dark matter hypothesis rather than What is the dark matter hypothesis?

2. Put phrases in quotes

If you are searching for a phrase, such as spontaneous combustion or genetically modified organism, put the entire phrase in double quotes. This will tell the search engine to only find results that contain the exact phrase, rather than one or two of the individual words.


  • "spontaneous combustion" rather than spontaneous combustion
  • "genetically modified organism" rather than genetically modified organism

3. Use AND to narrow your search

If you have two or more words or concepts that you want to find, use AND (must be capitalized) to tell the search engine to only look for items that contain both words.


  • Zika AND prevention
  • "global warming" AND impact

4. Use OR to expand your search

Often, there is more than one way to talk about your topic. For example, you might want to find articles on climate change or global warming, etc. Some phrases might be better than others. If you want to try looking for multiple variations of the same word or phrase in a single search, use OR (all capitals) to tell the search engine to find material with any of the words you've included.


  • "genetically modified organism" OR GMO
  • "climate change" OR "global warming"

You can even get fancy and use both AND and OR:

  • impact AND ("climate change" OR "global warming")

Finding Figures, Graphs, Tables

Many books and articles will contain figures, graphs and tables that you can use in your assignment - just don't forget to cite them/give the original author(s) credit!

There is also a database called Statista that allows you to easily find statistics on a topic and then export graphs and charts.