It is helpful to approach researching a topic from the perspective of a detective where you seek out clues from all the various information sources you discover. Here are some strategies for retrieving information relevant to your topic:
Directions for finding articles by topic will be helpful to consult when trying to access articles relevant to your topic.
Research Tip: When searching for information relevant to your topic, don't limit yourself to just one database or one set of search results.
Application Exercise: After viewing the tutorial and becoming familiar with how to search databases to find information on your topic, search two databases. For each database you search, screen capture your search query and the first page of results retrieved. Retain a copy of the completed assignment for yourself and download a second copy to D2L by [date].
Clark, S. (20 January 2016). Online research: Tips for effective search strategies [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTJygQwYV84
You can find many articles through the library! The majority of current articles are available online. You can find these through the Library's website or one of the many databases we subscribe to. Remember: no single database contains all articles.
After you have performed your initial search, view only Articles or peer-reviewed sources by using the left sidebar to filter results. Check the image below for more details and directions
Sometimes it is best to search a more specific journal database than MavScholar. 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.
You can access databases from the Library Services homepage. Below the search box, you'll find our links to databases. Our "Article Databases A-Z" is great if you're trying to find a specific database. Or else, check out our "Class and Subject Guides." They're divided by department and class, and through them you can usually find databases topically.
You can use phrases in direct quotes to find that exact phrase in that exact order. If you type in words without quotation marks, the search will look for those words in any order. You can also use boolean operators like and, or, and but to make your search more specific. Here's an example using the Academic Search Premier database:
If you're getting irrelevant results, you can modify your results using the sidebar. Narrow your results by date, source type, and other limitations.
There are a few options that will probably be more help than others. For instance, in the Academic Search Premier database, you can limit the search to "Full Text" or "Scholarly ( Peer Reviewed) Journals." Full text means that the database will only look for the articles where the database has the whole article. "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals," means that the articles found will only be from journals that are reviewed by expert scholars.
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 different words and phrases you find. Be on alert for synonyms and abbreviations for the keywords you choose.
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
To access these full texts in a database, look for links or buttons that say things like "Linked Full Text," or "PDF Full Text." These links will bring you right to the entire article.
If the entry has no full text option, you may still be able to access the article. Click on the link near the citation labeled such as:
Check for Full Text -or- Go to Article
-or- Click Here For Other Article Options
A purple Library Services bar will BRIEFLY appear. Our behind-the-scenes service is searching for access in another one of our databases.
A different website will have HTML or PDF access to the article.
Sometimes, instead of linking to another database, the page will go to MavScholar's Get It section and show the location of MSU,M Memorial Library. This means 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 the screen opens to MavScholar's How to get it section with only a Sign in option, Minnesota State, Mankato does not have immediate access to this publication. In this case, you can order the article from another library by clicking Sign in to submit an Interlibrary Loan Request.
For more information about this process, check out our guide on requesting articles from other libraries.