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Research Process: A Step-by-Step Guide: 2c. Articles


It can be difficult to distinguish between the various types of periodicals when they are in electronic format. Luckily, many databases allow researchers to search or sort results by publication type.

On the search interface of the database, look for options to limit your results by scholarly journal, peer-reviewed journals, industry publications, or similar. 

Article Formats

Depending on the database you are using, articles may be displayed in different formats:

  • Index: Includes only the article citation (i.e., author, title, date, etc.). Neither a summary, nor the full-text of the article are available.
  • Abstract: Includes the citation and a summary of the article's content. It does not include the full-text article.
  • Full-text: Includes the citation and full-text article. This may be in HTML, .pdf, or both formats.

Choosing a Database

Article databases provide you with 24-7 access to magazine, journal and newspaper articles. To help you identify the most appropriate database for your research topic:

  • consult the Find Articles/Databases page, and/or
  • see if there is a Research Guide on your topic. Relevant databases are listed on the Articles tab in that guide. The research guide will also let you know who the subject librarian is who can help you get started with your research on a topic.

Article Databases in 5 Minutes

Posted with permission from North Carolina State University Libraries.

Finding Specific Journals

If you are looking for a specific journal, for example Journal of Scientific Computing, you can find if the Library has acces to it in two ways:

  1. Check the Library Catalog; limit to 'Journal Title".
  2. Check the list of e-journals.  This will not find journals the library has only in print, but there are fewer and fewer of these.  If you find a journal in the list of e-journals, click on the  button to see what years are available online.

Open Access Journals

Open access journals provide unrestricted, free access via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles.