Find Articles

Steps to Finding an Article in Periodicals

  1. Review Beginning your research
  2. Use a ResearchDatabases/Indexes
  3. Write/print your results (citations)
  4. Determine if the Library has the periodical in print
  5. If the Library does not have the periodical in print
  6. Evaluate the article

Step 1: Review the Beginning your research section

If you are unsure on how to start finding information on your research topic, please review the Beginning your research section of the Research Coach.

Step 2: Use a ResearchDatabases/Indexes to locate articles in periodicals

Indexes vs. Databases

While the terms indexes and databases are used interchangeably, there is a difference.

An electronic research index is a tool used to locate only articles on various subjects in a pre-selected list of magazines, journals, and newspapers.

An example of an index is Sociological Abstracts. By using this tool, you locate articles that are published in sociological-related journals.

A database is not limited to indexes. A database is defined as a collection of information regardless of what that information is. An example of a database is STAT-USA which is a government-published database of statistical information. Another example is The World Almanac or even The Encyclopedia Britannica.

Research Databases/Indexes vs. the Internet

The Internet is an information system consisting of a network of networks of computers. The way to find information on the Internet is to use a tool called a search engine like Yahoo or Google.

However, you cannot always rely on the validity or credibility of the information as anyone who has access to a computer can post a website on the Internet!

While the Research Databases/Indexes use web-based technology, you are NOT searching the Internet itself.

When you use a Research Database/Index, you are seeking specific articles in selected magazines, journals, and newspapers, and/or specific information in a specific database. They are compiled or created by companies and organizations.

The ResearchDatabases/Indexes available on the Library's web pages are specific commercial products that have been previewed and purchased by the Pacific University Librarians for use by the Pacific University Community users.

Step 3: Write/print your results (citations)


Note whether the article is from a scholarly journal, popular magazine, or newspaper!

Scholarly journal

Popular magazine

  • Are in-depth studies on specialized subjects
  • Use a "peer-review" process prior to publication -- where a draft of the article is critically assessed by other scholars in the author's field of speciality.
  • Are usually indexed in subject-specific Research Databases/indexes; such as ERIC, Psychological Abstracts, Medline, CINAHL, etc.
  • Are published quarterly, twice a year, or even less
  • Do not usually rely on advertising for revenue
  • Identify the author, usually an expert
  • Are longer articles, usually over 8 pages long
  • Have charts, graphs, and photographs
  • Have bibliographies
  • Sponsored or published by professional organizations
  • Are short overviews for the general reader
  • Are indexed in popular research databases/indexes such as Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
  • Are published weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly
  • Include lots of advertising
  • Are familiar titles found in supermarkets and drugstores
  • Do not always identify the author
  • Are shorter articles, 1-3 pages long
Step 4: Determine if the Library has the periodical in print

Do This

Check PacCat, the Library's on-line catalog, to see if the Pacific University Library has the periodical inprint.

If so, the periodical will be on the Library's second floor, arranged alphabetically by the title.

You can then photocopy the article.

Copies are $.05 per page.

Step 5: If the Library does not have the periodical in print

Do this First

Do this Second

Do this as a last resort

Use the E-journals link to determine if the Library has web-based access to the specific periodical and/or article.

If you are accessing the E-journals link off-campus, you will need to open a new browswer window and access the specific Research Database/Index first before proceeding to the specific periodical and/or article.

Use Interlibrary Services if that Library does not have the periodical either in print or as web-based.

Please remember to include the ISSN (International Standard Serials Number) when completing your Interlibrary Services form!

If you are using a Research Database/Index, the ISSN appears only in the full or complete display of the citation -- not in the abstract or citation only display.

Check ORULS to see if another Oregon library -- specifically one in the Portland area -- has the periodical.

You can then visit that Library to photocopy the article.

Step 6: Evaluate the article

It is important to critically evaluate the article for accuracy, bias, content, or relevancy!