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Research Study referenced in a Popular Journal

Sometimes you will read about a research study in a popular journal (Time, Newsweek) and you want to locate the scholarly article that describes the research. This tutorial will show you some techniques for locating the original research article.

1. Look for Clues in the Article

In this example, I have a journal name (Pediatrics) and a description of a the research study but no authors. The process for finding the article is similar to that when I have the author and journal information.

Clues in the article

Seppa, Nathan. "Autism Linked to Obese Mothers." Science News 19 May, 2012: 16.

2. Locate the Article in an Online Journal

This example provides me with enough clues to locate the article.

The article was published in Pediatrics and I have some useful key words in the description of the research study; mother, obese, pregnant, diabetes, autism, high blood pressure

To locate this article, I will search the online journal.

  1. Go to the Library home page (
  2. Click on Find It
  3. Click on E-journals

Now I can search to see if we have this journal in electronic format by typing the name of the journal (Pediatrics) into the title begins with text box.

image shows online database search results

We have access to Pediatrics through a number of databases. I am going to choose HighWire Press since it provides access from 1948 to the present. The others stop in 2004, 2005 or 2007 and I think the research article was published in 2011 because the popular article was published in 2012.


3. Search withing the Journal

Now I can search Pediatrics online. I don't have a year, although I think it's probably 2011. 

I can click on the 2011 volume and browse the table of contents for each issue or I can search within the journal for keywords. 

In this example, I entered some of the terms I found in the popular article in the search box on the left side. Remember to use key words (mother diabetes autism pregnant) and not whole sentences.

Search within the journal

4. Locating the Article

I have searched all of Pediatrics for the keywords and located a couple of articles. This looks like the one I want. I can see the keywords I entered in the title and in the abstract. To access the article, I can click on PDF link at the bottom.

Locate the article