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WR 327: Technical Writing (Brasted-Maki)

Resources for technical writing

Finding Articles

Many college-level assignments ask you to find articles.  You are in luck! The library provides free access to many, many different kinds of articles, from international newspaper articles to popular magazines to scholarly journal articles.  Whether you are starting with an idea for a topic or the citation for a specific article, the library can get you the article you need. 

Use this page to figure out what type of article works best for your situation and how to find articles.

Choosing a database

A good place to start when you are searching for articles is one of the library online databases. The library subscribes to many databases which are like indexes to different journals, magazines and newspapers. You can search for articles by topic or, if you already know the information, by author or title. Many of the databases have the full text of the article available so you can just download or print a copy.

  • Go to the Library home page and click on Databases (under  Find It). This will take you to an alphabetical list of all our databases.
  • To see a list of databases recommended for a specific discipline, use the Filter drop-down on the database page. Select a general topic area from the drop-down and click Search. 
  • Mouse over the red information icon next to the name of the database. This tells you more about the database and the topics and time periods it covers.

<Learn More>

 

Searching a database

The most effective way to search the online databases is to enter terms or keywords that effectively describe your topic.

  • Use broad, meaningful keywords when you search. Don't use sentences or phrases.
  • Use just a few keywords (1-3). You can always add keywords later if you need to refine your search.
  • Use the facets or limits to help refine you search. For example, you can narrow your search by date or by geographic region.
  • When you review your results, look at the abstracts or subject headings for other keywords you can use to improve your search.
  • Be prepared to do several searches. Research is a process that takes time.

Finding an article on a topic

You use the keywords from your research topic to search for journal articles on a topic - usually in a database.

Start your searches with broad searches (2-3 keywords, not too specific) in a general database like 1Search or Google Scholar.  Google Scholar is simple to search in, but it does take some practice to learn how to get articles that are not freely available and to make sure you are choosing the best scholarly articles.  <Learn More>

If your topic is more specialized, you may want to search in an online database.  Article databases are available through the library for almost every topic, from Anthropology to Zoology.  Use the database subject filter to choose a database that matches your topic. <Learn More>

Finding the full text of an article

Locating articles: Once you find your citation, you will need to locate the journal to read the article. Some citations will have the full-text of the article available online. For others, click on the FindIt@OSU button to see if OSU subscribes to the electronic or the paper copy of the journal. 

FindIt@OSU will open a new window and will display a link to full-text when available. If not, request the article from Interlibrary Loan: http://osulibrary.orst.edu/ill/.