Pew Learning Center & Ellison Library

Painless Library Research

Finding Articles

Finding magazine and journal articles is probably the most painful part of Painless Library Research. That's because there are so many different places to look. At the moment, we have around 140 databases that include magazine and journal articles. Some of these cover practically all subject areas, and some are quite specialized. Some have the full text of the articles, while others only provide citations and abstracts (which doesn't necessarily mean that the article is not available to you — be sure to read the sections titled "What Magazines & Journals Do We Have?" and "Getting Materials From Other Libraries.")

These databases can be found on our page of Electronic Resources. There are A to Z links if you know the name of the database you want to use. There are also broad subject categories of the databases. You can read descriptions of each of the databases and connect to them from this page.

One of the best places to begin your periodical searching can be in the category of "Big Full-Text". These databases provide access to a huge collection of magazine and journal titles (over 10,000 — plus indexing for a lot more) covering virtually all subjects. Students love these databases because in a very short amount of time, one can do a search of all of these titles and bring up the full text of the articles.

After a search of these databases, you will probably want to look in some of the specialized ones as well. Depending on your topic, choose one of the broad subject categories of the databases. You will then see the list of the available databases in that category. Since there are so many databases, it can be a little overwhelming, so please ask a librarian if you need some help.

Also, although some of these databases contain full-text articles, lots of them will only provide indexing for a particular journal title (and maybe an abstract of the article). So, you will want to figure out how else you might be able to get a certain article. To help you do that, read "What Magazines & Journals Do We Have?".