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Finding & Using Articles


Are you doing research on a given topic but don't know where to start? This guide will lead you through the process of finding and using articles and will also offer some explanations to questions such as:

Why should I use articles?

How do I find articles?

What's a periodical?

What's a database?

Why should I use articles?

  • Because articles tend to focus on a single topic, they are a great place to find highly specific information.
  • Articles are often the first place where new research is discussed, and in some disciplines, may be the primary means of conveying information.
  • Articles cover many types of publications including: journals, magazines, newspapers, trade journals and newsletters.



How do I find articles?

  • Slide 5 To find articles, you will need to search within a database.
  • Scroll through the list of databases to find the one that best meets your research needs.
  • Search the selected article database using words you might expect to find in the title or subject of the article.
  • Limit your searches to FULL TEXT for immediate access to complete articles.



What's a Periodical?

A periodical is any publication that is issued in regular intervals (i.e. "periodically").

This includes newspapers, magazines, trade publications and scholarly journals.*

Each of these resources contain articles that can be used in different ways.

It is important to be able to correctly identify the articles you are using and to know how to use them in the appropriate contexts.

If you are writing a serious essay, you probably want to consider using academic journal articles.

If you're investigating current events, you could consider using newspaper or magazine articles.

Also keep in mind the assignment you are working on and what you've been asked to do. Have you been specifically asked to use a certain type of article? (i.e. one that is peer-reviewed?)

* Please see the tabs located above for details and resources related to each type of periodical.


What's a Database?

Databases are library resources that gather different kinds of information together.

Periodical databases group articles together which you can search by subject or topic using keywords.

Using the library's electronic research databases (sometimes called periodical databases) for your college research allows you to search many articles on specific topics at once.

Using George Brown's library website you can check out the e-resources section which has an A-Z database listing and also a listing of databases by subject.

Each database has been described in detail, indicating what kind of articles they contain (newspapers, magazines, academic, peer-reviewed, etc).

For example:

ALT HealthWatch (EBSCO)This alternative health database provides full text for 140 publications in the collection, including full text for many peer-reviewed journals. Alt HealthWatch provides in-depth coverage across the full spectrum of subject areas covered by complementary and alternative medicine dating back to 1990.

Once you've found the database that's right for you, click the [On & Off Campus] link to enter. (Please note: Sometimes databases require you to go through one or more intermediate screens before you can begin searching for articles).

If you are working from Off Campus, please see the Off Campus Access tab for details.

If you still can't find the database you need, or you've found it but aren't sure how to use it, please ask us!