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Michigan State University

LB 133: Trace that Claim!: Tools for Trace that Claim Project

New Library Website: Fall 2023

If you have the title for an article or book, you can copy and paste it into the search box on the library homepage. You can choose to search all types of sources at once, or you can use the dropdown menu or links to look for books and media, articles, databases, research and course guides, course reserves, or journals and newspapers separately. If you already know that you need an article or a book, click on one of the links or use the dropdown menu to search for that particular thing. If you already have a title or author's name, you can type that in. You can also type in keywords and see what the library has on your topic.

screenshot of general search on library homepage.

Lyman Briggs Librarian

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

Extreme Cases: Retractions

Sometimes (very infrequently) a scholarly journal or researcher will retract an article, meaning that the article becomes unpublished. It happens when the article is deeply misleading, the research is discovered to be fake, or it's so badly done that the journal no longer wants to be associated with it. Sometimes databases will still store the article, but mark it "retracted." Other databases may remove it completely, so that you can't find it. Retraction Watch Database is a search engine where you can search for retractions. The results will also tell you why the article was retracted. The Retraction Watch organization website also tracks different kinds of scientific misdemeanors.

Some Clues to Look for in Your Popular Source

Find as many of these as you can in your popular source. Then you can enter them into an academic database and hopefully find the scholarly article it's based on. If you don't find it in one database, try another!

  • Article title
  • Journal title
  • Date of publication
  • Names of author(s)
  • Workplaces or affiliations of author(s)
  • Study name--some larger research projects will have names that you can search for. For example, "Man Up Man Down" is the name of an extended project that studies health and stress in African American men in Michigan.


Tips for Using Search Fields

You'll make your search faster and more accurate if you use the dropdown menu next to the search box to tell the database which fields to search. (If you don't see the dropdown menu on the first screen, look for a link that says something like "Advanced" or "Advanced search." The advanced search function will always have it.)

For example, if I tell the General Science database to search for "stein, gertrude" only in the personal author field of the article, I'll only see articles she wrote. screenshot advanced search general science full text database. dropdown menu on right of search box lists select a field (optional), TX All text fields, TI title, AU Author personal, CA author corporate, PD Physical description, SU subject. Green button to right of dropdown menu says "search." Create alert link below green search button.

Otherwise, I may also get articles written about Gertrude Stein, or even just articles that cite her in their bibliographies. If I am looking for articles she wrote, using the author field will save me from having to wade through all those extra results.

Note: This feature appears in Advanced Search for all databases, but it also appears on the library website if you select one of the source types in the dropdown menu or click on "See more" in the results page.

Tips for Searching Databases with Keywords

  • Combine two different topics with AND (always capitalize).
  • Put phrases in quotes (for example, "breast cancer").
  • If you're getting a lot of irrelevant material, see if you can make your terms more specific.
  • Click on the "Get it at MSU" button or the PDF link to get full text.
  • Use filters on the left side of the screen to limit your search. Usually there's a date filter that you can use to only see results for the last 5 years.