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SED 580: 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 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. 

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.

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:

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 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 the database page. Select a general topic area from the drop-down and click Search. 
  • Mosts 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 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 a specific article

If you have an article citation and want to find that specific article, you can find it 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:  "Feasability of a Home-Delivered Internet Obesity Prevention Program for Fourth-Grade Students" 
    • Click on the eJounals A-Z 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

OSU Libraries subscribes to over 20,000 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.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

You do allow embedded content.

With Google Scholar you can search broadly (across several disciplines) with one search.  You can use Google Scholar to find peer-reviewed articles, but you will also find pre-print copies of articles, conference papers, white papers, patents, legal opinions and more.

  1.  Before you start -- go to Scholar Preferences (click the gear icon in the upper right corner) and enter Oregon State University in the Library Links field. Save your preferences.
  2. Enter your keywords in the search box.
  3. Browse results, making sure to use the library's subscriptions to get access the text of the articles where you can.Use the Get This Item at OSU link on the left to access the article.

Smart searching

When searching in catalogs and databases:

  • Be creative in the words you use; if one doesn't work, try something else. Think of words with related meaning, such as natural resource management or restoration or conservation
  • Begin with keywords, and use the subjects found in the articles that come up to find more information
  • Use quotation marks around phrases, so they won't be searched as individual words.
  • Use advanced search features in catalogs and databases to limit by date, language, type of article, etc

For more in-depth information about developing advanced search strategies, check out a tutorial from Purdue University at