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ED 620: Research and Evaluation

Online Databases

Is this a Peer Reviewed Journal?

Checking to see if a journal is peer reviewed just got A LOT easier. When you look up a journal title in the description will tell you if it is "refereed" and that is another way of saying that articles in that journal undergo "peer review." We have access to this resource electronically via the link below

Finding an Article

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 keywords in a general database like 1Search or Google Scholar. Try starting with 2-3 keywords and refining your search results from there.
  • If your topic is more specialized, you may want to search a subject database.  Use the database subject menu to choose a database that matches your topic.

Finding an Article's Full Text

Once you find your article's entry in a database, check whether the database provides the full-text article. If it does, the database will provide a link to a "full-text PDF", "full text available online", or something similar.

If the database doesn't provide a full-text article, 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

Choosing a Database

Online databases are a good place to start when you are searching for articles -- especially scholarly and peer-reviewed articles. Databases are searchable collections of research and other articles from journals, magazines, and newspapers. You can search for articles by topic or, if you already know the information, by author or title.

Not all articles in a database include the article's full text.

  • Go to OSU Libraries and click on Databases A-Z (below the search box). 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 Subject drop-down on Databases A-Z. Select a subject area from the drop-down and click Search. 
  • Most databases include a brief description which tells you more about the type of materials included in the database and the topics and time periods it covers.

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 your 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 a Specific Article

If you have an article citation and want to find that specific article, you can find it in several ways:

  • 1Search
    • Search for the article title.  It is often useful to put quotes around the article title to find the exact title you want.
      • Example:  "Feasibility of a Home-Delivered Internet Obesity Prevention Program for Fourth-Grade Students" 
    • Alternatively, click on the Journal Search link and search for the journal title, then navigate to the article using the date, volume, issue, and page number information.
  • Google Scholar
    •  Use the article title.  Again, it is often useful to put quotes around the article title to find the exact title you want.  If you find articles that are not freely available, be sure to set up your Google Scholar preferences to talk to the OSU Libraries, or search the e-journals or catalog to see if we have the article.

Electronic Journals

E-journals are another good research tool. if you are looking for articles on a topic, you will want to use the databases (see the Finding articles tab). It's more efficient than browsing through journals. If you want to see what is being published in your discipline or what the current hot topics are, then browsing through a journal can be very helpful. With e-journals, you can browse the table of content of a journal without coming to the library.

OSU Libraries subscribes to over 80,000 electronic journals (e-journals). It's easiest to search the e-journals if you have a specific journal or citation to locate.  Always note the date range available for each journal subscription.

Remember that if we don't have a journal online, we can still get a copy of an article for you via Interlibrary Loan.