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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

An Introduction to Library Research

Basic information to search for and find library materials.

Finding Articles in a Nutshell

articles provide current information; scholarly articles provide evidence to support your arguments; newspapers and magazines provide testimonials and general information


The majority of current articles are available online through our library. No single database contains all articles. 
Here are the basic steps to find an article

  1. Are you looking for a specific journal, magazine or newspaper?
    Use our Journals List to locate the title.
    Are you looking for an article by topic, but have no specific title in mind?
    Search MavScholar (see below) or click here for information to help you search subject-specific databases.
  2. Search the database and locate the "full text" or the complete contents of the article.
  3. If no full text is available, click links like "Get Article" to find the content from another source.

See detailed information below

Give MavScholar a Try!

Find Scholarly Articles, Books, and More


Searching MavScholar

If you have a topic, but no specific journal title in mind, begin your search in the MavScholar quick search box above or on the Library Services website (use the default search).

Type desired information in search field.
After you have performed your initial search, view only Journal Articles by using the left-hand sidebar to filter results.

Find a Database for your Subject

Sometimes it is best to search a more specific journal database. When you search a database, you'll get information from lots of journals at once, saving you time and energy. Most databases are subject-specific, so you know you'll get relevant information.  To browse databases by topic, use the tabs across the top of this box.

You can also access databases from Memorial Library's homepage. Use the following menu options to find subject-specific databases.

Image of left search bar, with arrows pointing at the Article Databases and Class & Subject Guides options.
If you know the name of the database you're looking for, click Article Databases A-Z and find it easily.

If you do not know which database to use, click Class & Subject Guides.

Choose a guide related to your topic.

Review the guide to discover recommended article databases.


Searching a Subject-Specific Database

Databases all look a little different, but they work in similar ways.

Search tips:

  • Start with words that relate broadly to your topic
  • Add words that are unique or specific to your topic
  • Avoid using full sentences 

Here's an example using the Academic Search Premier database:

If you're getting too many irrelevant results, you can narrow your results using the sidebar. Here's how: 

Sometimes, however, NOT limiting to Full Text can turn up better search results. By including non-full text results, your search will include articles from other databases available at the Library (and at other libraries from which the University can borrow).

As you continue with your research, you may want to change your keywords by using words and phrases you find within your results. Be on alert for synonyms and abbreviations for the keywords you choose.

Viewing Results in a Subject-Specific Database

All databases look a little different, but they all work in pretty much the same way. You'll see 

  • a list of results
  • a number telling you how many results you have
  • sidebar that allows you to further limit your results 

Locating the Actual Article

Locating an Article Within a Journal Database

A full text article is usually available in one of two formats: 

PDF:  a scanned document retaining the original layout of a print article
HTML: a single web page containing the document 

If the Database Does Not Have Full Text

If an Article is Not Available in Full Text

If the journal record has no full text option, you may still be able to access the article. Click on the link near the citation labeled Get Article, Go to Article, or Click Here for Other Article Options.

1. Get Article

2. Go to Article

3. Click Here For Other Article Options

Journal Availability Window

A new screen will open with the article’s citation, and links to find the journal article online or in paper. It will look like this:

Click "Full-text" for a link to the article in another database. If content is not available in another database, click "Interlibrary Loan and/or Request" to request the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Sometimes, instead of linking to another database, the page will link back to the library catalog. "Memorial Library's Print Holdings" means that the library subscribes to a paper copy of the journal. Journals are located in the Periodicals section of the library on the first floor.

If Minnesota State University, Mankato Does Not Own an Article

If the journal availability window says “Sorry, no holdings were found for this journal,” Minnesota State, Mankato does not have immediate access to this publication. You may order the article from another library by submitting an Interlibrary Loan Request.

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