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INTRNAR 200: Issues and Inquiry in International Studies: Finding Articles

An online course guide for finding library and online resources for use with International Studies 200

Choose Search Words

Select search words, and possibly set limits on your results (either before or after your search)

Translate your topic into search words.

Try to be both comprehensive and detailed when searching, although when you first start you may have only a broad topic that reading some articles will help you focus more narrowly.

  • Use OR between synonyms (you don't care which appear in your results).
  • Use AND between required concepts (words to the left as well as words to the right MUST appear in results
  • Use ( ) to group synonyms for one concept if your search also uses AND to require another concept
  • Use * (in most databases) to truncate if variant endings on a word stem are acceptable

Check if there are limits that you can set on the search page, such as date or type of publication. In many cases you can do this after running your search too.

Do not limit results to items that are full-text in the databases you are searching, because the full text may be in other databases ("Find It" will help you determine that later).

Choose Databases

Select article databases to search

  • Research@UWW searches across disciplines for articles, as well as books, ebooks, government publications, media, and more. You can search just the Articles scope, or after you've searched Everything you can use options on the left to limit results to only articles or only peer-reviewed journals.
  • In addition, UW-Whitewater's libraries subscribe to many databases that search periodical (journal, magazine and newspaper) articles, and some also search book chapters, dissertations, etc. Some are discipline-specific and others are multidisciplinary. Ask a Librarian for assistance with selecting databases appropriate for your topic if needed. Not all content in these databases is searchable via Research@UWW.
    Access databases by selecting Articles/ Databases on the UW-Whitewater libraries' webpage, or use links in this guide.

Recommended Library Article Databases

To search for articles in magazines, journals, and newspapers, choose UW-Whitewater libraries' article databases based on your research topic. For example, if your topic has to do with business, choose business databases. Some databases cover a variety of subject areas, while others are more specialized. If you don't know which database(s) to use, ask a reference librarian, or go to the Databases A to Z list and use the subjects drop-down list.

For research in this class, you might start with:

  • Ebscohost's Academic Search Complete, Environment CompletePolitical Science Complete, and SocINDEX (many articles provided in fulltext)
    • Add others as appropriate for your topic, e.g., add America History & Life or Historical Abstracts for historical topics, Business Source Premier for business-related topics, etc.
  • JSTOR - full-text access to complete runs of back issues of scholarly journal titles in 10-15 academic fields.
  • ProQuest's Sociological Abstracts and Business Premium Collection (business) databases
  • Sage Premier Journals Online - 408 peer-reviewed, full-text journals in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine
  • CQ Press Library, which will allow you to search two databases:
    • CQ Researcher (1991- ) is a weekly backgrounder. Each issue has a particular focus and contains in-depth research, insight into all sides of the issues, and bibliographies for further information. 
    • CQ Magazine covers the major activities of the U.S. Congress: status of bills, votes and amendments, floor and committee activity, and backroom maneuvering.
  • Law reviews & legal journals:
    • Westlaw (select Secondary Sources)

For information on how to tell the difference between a scholarly article and a popular (i.e., non-scholarly) article, see the online library user guide: Scholarly Journal vs. Popular Magazine Articles.

Evaluate Results, Revise Search(es), Choose Additional Databases

Evaluate your results (revise your search if needed) and select appropriate articles

How many results are found? Did you get too few? Too many? Do the titles seem relevant to your topic?

You can see subjects assigned to the articles and you can add or remove them, or amend your entire search with words from article abstracts, subject headings, and titles. Watch how the changes affect the number of results and how relevant they are.

How do you know whether an article is scholarly or not? Check out the Scholarly Journal v. Popular Magazine Articles guide.

Obtain citation information and either print or save the articles selected. In some databases you can get help with citation formatting.

In Research@UWW and in some other databases, e.g., Ebscohost databases, you can save articles and/or searches to your account. If you do not login to an account, saving only lasts during your current session. If you have an account the saved materials will be there the next time you login.

(optional): Run your search in other databases for additional results

In many cases you can just copy and paste a search from one database into another, e.g., copy a search used to search Ebscohost databases into ProQuest ABI/Inform (a business article database).

Find the Full Text

Most databases have some full text articles in addition to article citations. When an article is not available in that database, use the to determine whether and where Andersen Library has a specific article.

If you have a citation, you can use the Library's Journals Search to determine whether and where the Library has a particular journal, magazine or newspaper.

Google Scholar Off Campus

If you use Google Scholar to find articles when you are off campus, then configure the settings to use Andersen Library's full text access.