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Guide to Finding Online Resources: How to Find Articles

Using databases to find articles on a topic: STEP 1

Use  the "Articles & Databases" search tab.



Choose a database to search.  NYU Libraries subscribes more than 1,300 databases.  To help you choose the most relevant database(s) for your topic, the "Articles & Databases" page is structured into four sections:

  • General & Multidisciplinary databases:  The databases in this section are a good choice for any topic. In particular, EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) and ProQuest Central are wide in scope and include a variety of publication types, including news sources, magazines, scholarly journals, book chapters, and more.  (Please note that the EDS search  box  on this page searches  within EDS only.  It does not  simultaneously search all the databases represented on this page and within the categories.)
  • Subject-Specific databases:  The categories in this section reveal specialized, subject-focused databases that tend to concentrate on scholarly and specialized publications.
  • Content-Specific databases:  The categories in this section reveal databases that focus on a specific type of content, like image, audio, video, data, etc.
  • Databases A-Z:  If you already know the specific database you want to use, you can type it in the search box under the "Databases A-Z" button, or find it within the A-Z list.


Search within the database.  Here are some useful tips:

Databases do not understand natural language, so it's best to provide them with an explicit, straightforward "search statement." The sample search statement below contains three tips for searching within databases:  
"emotional intelligence" AND (success OR achieve*)

  • Tip 1:   Put quotes around  compound search terms. In this example, putting quotes around "emotional intelligence" directs the database to search for instances where these words appear adjacent to each other.  Also known as phrase searching.
  • Tip 2:  Use Boolean operators between search terms.  Boolean algebra is a fundamental aspect of online searching.  Boolean operators (also known as logical operators) specify the relationship between search terms and the order of operations executed in the search. There are three Boolean operators:
    • AND narrows a search.  Both search terms will be present in search results.
    • OR broadens a search.  Either or both search terms will be present in search results. Use this operator when you want to supplement a search term with one or more synonyms that convey the same concept.  Always enclose OR search terms in parenthesis, which instructs the database to perform this operation first.  Without the parenthesis, the operation will be performed last, which will result in inaccurate search results.
    • NOT eliminates any results where the search term is present.
  • Tip 3:  Consider using truncation. When you truncate a word, you command the database to find all variant endings of a word stem. Otherwise, the database searches for the literal, exact search term you entered, letter for letter. (Note that the database will automatically find the plural, so no need to use truncation just for that.) In most databases the truncation symbol is an asterisk (*).  In the example above, we truncated the word stem achiev* so that -- in addition to finding achieve and achieves -- the database will also find achieving, achievement, and achievements.

Find an article already known to you

Sometimes you have a citation for a specific article, perhaps provided by your professor on the course reading list, for example:

Gentile, B. (2012) The effect of social networking websites on positive self-views. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(5), 29-33.


To find the article, it helps to understand the parts of the citation. This is the same citation as above with each part labeled:

Gentle, B., Twenge, J., Freeman, E. [authors] (2012) [publication year] The effect of social networking websites on positive self-views: an experimental investigation. [title of article] Computers in Human Behavior, [title of journal] 28(5), [volume &  issues numbers] 1929-33. [page numbers]

Having grasped these distinctions, we're ready to look for the article.

Option 1: Use the Citation Tool

Screenshot of the citation tool with the Article Title, Journal Title, Year, Volume, Issue, and Author Last Name filled in with citation information.

Start on NYU Libraries home page and click the "citation tool" link. On the citation tool form, enter the citation parts into the respective fields.  You might not need to fill in every field, but it's best to include at least the article title,  journal title, volume, issue, and year.  If your citation has a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), that is the only field you need to fill in. (This citation example does not include a DOI.)

Option 2: Use the "Books & More" tab

Screen shots showing a journal title search in the "Books & More" tab and linking out to the journal's website.

  1. Start on the NYU Libraries home page.
  2. Use the "Books & More" tab and type the journal title (in this case Computers in Human Behavior) into the search box.
  3. In the search results, under the "Resource Type" heading, check the "Journals" box. Then click the "Online Access" link.
  4. On the journal site, look for "All issues" or "Archived issues."
  5. Click on the year you need, then drill down to volume and issue.

Option 3: Use EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS)

Screenshot showing EDS search.

Because EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) is a huge aggregator of content, it can be a good tool for finding specific articles. Type the title of the article into the search box. If the article is found by EDS, it will provide either an internal full text link or the gray "NYU" button, which will link out to the full text on an external platform.

Approaches to Finding Specific Types of Information

Sometimes your research is enriched by drawing from several types of information -- such as background, scholarly, news, and opinion pieces. The slideshows below can help inform your search approaches.

Background & Contextual Information

Using Credo Reference

Credo Reference is an online collection of dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographical sources, quotations, bilingual dictionaries, and more covering topics from the arts to the sciences. Use the player to view this brief 8-slide tutorial.


Using CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher, a useful source for current issue topics, providing a collection of reports covering political and social issues, with regular reports on topics in health, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the U.S. economy.  Use the player to view this  brief 9-slide tutorial.

Scholarly Journal Articles

Using a Multidisciplinary Database: ProQuest Central

ProQuest Central is a multidisciplinary database covering all subject areas.  Use the player to view this brief 9-slide tutorial, describing how to locate scholarly journals.



Using a Subject-Specific Database


On the Articles & Databases page, select the subject category relating to your topic. Then select a database from the list.  Most subject-specific databases focus on scholarly and specialized resources.

News Articles

Using ProQuest Central

ProQuest Central is a good database for news sources.  Use the player to view this 5-slide tutorial to find out how to locate news.

Mainstream Opinion Articles

Using ProQuest Central

ProQuest Central is a good database for mainstream articles, such as magazines.  Use the player to view this 6-slide tutorial to find out how to locate magazines.