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Michigan State University

PHM 211--Researching topics in pharmacology and toxicology: Finding Scientific Articles

Using the Library, AY 2021-2022

Things on campus are looking different due to COVID-19, and the library is no exception. Here are some links to instructions and videos that tell you how you can still get library books, print documents at the library, and study at the library. BE AWARE THAT MASKS MUST BE WORN IN THE LIBRARY. Library staff may stop you if they see you are not wearing one; if you don't have one on you, the library has some disposables. 

Dean's Message about current library access

Using the Library: Things to Know

Getting Library Books (2020/2021): video How to requests books, book chapters and Interlibrary Loan titles during the 2020/2021 academic year. These are no longer the only ways to get books--the Dean's message, above, tells you about other ways to do so (including just going to the library, finding the book, and checking it out). But these methods will also still work. 

Remote Library Access (2020/2021): video How to access journal articles, ebooks and databases if you are off campus. This information is still current, even though the title says 2020/2021

Off-Campus Google Scholar: video How to get to the full text of articles if you are using Google Scholar off campus. 

General Databases to Search

PubMed is the main database for health and medical research in the United States. It is a good place to find articles about the impact of drugs and other substances on human beings and animals.  

Web of Science is a database that covers articles in all areas of science, not just biomedical.  It will be useful for finding articles in ecology and environmental studies/remediation/environmental engineering and other fields that are not only health focused. 

Embase is similar to PubMed, but it contains more articles from European researchers and publications. 

Remember to check the date of publication on the articles you're looking at! All of these databases will allow you to sort your results by date, and also to filter them so that you only see review articles (secondary literature). 

Databases on Specific Topics

Finding Full Text Articles

To get full text: 

  1. In PubMed, click on  icon Spartan block S Full Text button  if it appears.  If it doesn't appear, try the  Find Text at MSU button icon. If you're having trouble, check out this tutorial:  How to find the full text from PubMed  (2 minutes 41 seconds)
  2. In Web of Science, click on the Find Text at MSU button icon.  

Off Campus Access to Electronic Resources

Almost all of the electronic resources linked from this guide are brought to you from the MSU Libraries.  If you live off campus and try to access them, a box should pop up asking for your MSU net ID and password.  If you have any trouble with access, please contact our support line

Be sure to access PubMed and other resources using the links in this guide or from the MSU Libraries Web site, not by going directly to them through Google.  This will ensure that you are authenticated as a MSU student and that you will link to our subscriptions. 

Health Sciences Librarian

Profile Photo
Chana Kraus-Friedberg
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824
Subjects: Medicine, Public Health

Primary versus Secondary Literature

Research tip:  Read secondary literature to get background before you get into the primary literature.

Secondary Literature summarizes the findings or conclusions of many different primary literature papers.  Examples include news articles, books, and review articles in scientific journals.

Primary Literature is the first published reports of findings from experiments or studies by the scientists who did the work.  These are scientific articles published in scientific journals and they include the following sections:  introduction, materials & methods, results (with tables of data or graphs or images), and discussion. 

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