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RSM 550 - Introduction to Research Methodology: Finding Articles

Find Journal by Title

Know the title of the journal you are looking for? You can type the title in this box and see if the library has access to it.

Search for Journal and Magazine Titles


Best Bet Databases

Search Tips & Tricks

1. Be prepared to try alternative search terms

If you're not able to locate the articles you need with one search term, try another!

  • Many concepts go by more than one name: instead of "elementary school," for instance, you could also say "grammar school," "K-6," or "primary school."
  • Ask yourself what other words an author might use to describe your topic.
  • Consider using a more specific term ("geometry" instead of "mathematics") if you find too many results.
  • Try using a broader term ("special needs" instead of "gifted" or "talented") if your search retrieves too few.

The important thing is not to give up if you aren't successful right away!


2. Use the words AND and OR to narrow or expand your search

Most databases will allow you to search for more than one term at a time by connecting them with the word AND (to search for both term A and term B) or the word OR (to search for either term A or term B) in all capital letters.

  • Most databases that use this feature automatically place AND in between your keywords unless you tell it to do otherwise. That is why recommend not searching your entire research question but rather keywords!
  • AND is a great way to narrow your search. In the example below, both the keyword "zombie" and "Haiti" would need to be in a source for it to show up in your results.
  • OR is useful for expanding your search, especially for synonyms and alternative phrases. In the below example, "college" and "university" are used interchangeably. 
  • NOT can be used to eliminate a particular keyword from your search.

three Venn Diagrams. In the diagram labelled NOT, the Dogs side is highlighted while the Corgis and middle sections are not. In the OR diagram, all sections (college, university, and the middle) are highlighted. In the AND diagram, only the middle section is highlighted while the zombie and Haiti sections are not.


3. Look closely at the abstract and subject headings

When you find an article that looks promising, look closely at:

  • The abstract (the brief summary that appears at the top of most scholarly articles). Often times this will help you identify keywords that you can use to find additional articles on your topic.
  • The "Subjects" section of the source's description as pictured below. These subject headings are how databases categorize and organize their contents. Think of them like each database's own language, and you are trying to find the best words to match their language.
    • You can also search within these subject headings by using the Advanced Search feature (near the search bar). 


PRO TIP: To see more of the abstract than is shown by default (the first few sentences), under Page Options, change the Results Format to "Detailed" (pictured below).


4. Look at the references list

Most of the articles you find will end with a "References" or "Works Cited" section that lists the articles and the books that the author used to do their research. The references section of a good article is often the best place to look for additional articles that you can use to continue your own research! If you find an article that looks like it might be helpful, you can use the library's Find Journal by Title tool to track it down.


5. Ask a Librarian

Last but certainly not least, if you encounter any difficulties or if you have a question, please feel free to ask a librarian for help--that's what we're here for!

What if I can't access an article in a library database?

REMEMBER: You should never, ever have to pay to access an article--that is what the library is here for! We will find a way to get you access.

Most articles in the Hoover Library databases you should be able to tell easily how to access, particularly if there is a HTML or PDF link (like pictured below).


Sometimes, no such link will be available, and it may take you a few more clicks to access the source.

  • If selecting the "Check for Full Text Access" link takes you to the Hoover Library catalog, that means we have that item physically in the library building rather than online. 
  • If selecting that link takes you to a page that looks like the image below, don't worry! This is not a dead end. You can select the green "ILLiad Request" button to request the source through our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. 

When in doubt, check Google Scholar

If you are having trouble accessing an article or if you are not finding it in a Hoover Library database, Google Scholar is a great place to check.

  1. Make sure your Google Scholar settings has Hoover Library's library links set up.
    • To do this, select the Menu button in the top left corner of Scholar's search page (it looks like three horizontal lines) and go to Settings. Then, go to Library Links and type "McDaniel College" into the search bar. Select both options (pictured below).


  1. Search the title of the article you are looking for with quotation marks around it. If you get lucky, there may be a PDF or HTML version of it freely available!


  1. If the article is not freely available somewhere, then you should submit an ILL request for the article. For more information, follow the instructions in the section below.
If none of the above steps work, submit an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request

Not finding the article on Google Scholar or a Hoover Library database does not mean you are out of luck and cannot use the article! You just need to place a request for the article through our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. 

To place an ILL request:
  1. Select InterLibrary Loan on the top, horizontal menu on the Hoover Library webpage (pictured below)

  1. Select the green "ILLiad Login" button and log in using your McDaniel username and password (the same one you use for your email)
  2. Select "New Request" from the top, horizontal menu. Then, select the type of material you are requesting.
  3. Fill out the request form, making sure you complete the *required sections. Remember, the more information you can provide here, the better! More information helps our ILL Supervisor track down the material you seek.
  4. Select "Submit" and wait! Articles typically take 3-5 business days to process, and you will receive an email when the PDF is ready for viewing. You can view the article in your ILLiad account (under "Electronically Received Articles" on the main page) for up to 30 days, so make sure you download and save it somewhere.
If you need help completing any of these steps, Ask a Librarian!
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