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LCC Library

Writing Research Papers: Articles

This guide is intended to provide help with topic selection, research tips and strategies, and citing sources.

Library Databases

a computer keyboard with a "research" button

The LCC Library subscribes to many different databases, each containing their own unique searchable collection of materials that originally appeared in paper format. You can search them from any computer with Internet Access. If you are off campus, you'll be asked for your L# and LCC passphrase, as if you were logging into MyLane.

Finding Articles Using LCC Library Databases

To find articles, including articles from peer-reviewed journals, your best bet will be to search using LCC's EBSCO databases.  To find the search blank, start at the Library's main webpage and click on the “Find Articles & Databases" link:

Click on the "Find Articles and Databases" link

Database searching is different than searching Google.  For example, in Google, you can type in a whole sentence or more and expect to get useful results. The databases function better when you use just 2 or 3 words or phrases.

If I want to find articles that mention both flame retardants and something about toxicity, my search might look something like this (Hot Tips are in the red boxes):

I search the EBSCO databases for toxic* "flame retardant"
If you're off campus, you'll need to sign in using your L# and LCC passphrase.

Then use the options under "Refine Results" on the left to better target your search:

   
Narrow your date range. You probably don't want articles more than 10 years old.

For example, you may want to specify that you only want articles from a certain date range. For scientific and technical topics, you probably don't want articles that are more that 5 to 10 years old.

Under Source Types, click on Academic Journals. Or you may want to click on "Academic Journals" so that you don't encounter a lot of book reviews.

Narrow your search by clicking on relevant subject headings.

There may be other ways to save you time.  For example, under "Subjects," you can click on the checkbox next to "fireproofing agents" then hit the "Update" button to throw out any articles that aren't entirely about that concept. After all, you don't want articles that just happen to mention what you're looking for.  You want the whole article to be about that! 

Click on "Show More" for other useful subjects, such as "Bioaccumulation" or "endocrine disruptors." Click on more than one subject term at a time in different combinations.  

Explore Search Results

The following example shows an article result from one of the databases from EBSCOhost, a company we buy databases from. Also take a look at the article's publication date and length.

 

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be a powerful source of scholarly information. It's very easy to use, looking and feeling just like Google. But the results you will get will be very different.

Here's some of what you may find:

  1. Peer-reviewed journal articles
  2. Other previously published journal articles 
  3. Unpublished scholarly articles 
  4. Master's theses and other degree or classwork 
  5. Citations for books, some of which link to parts of the actual book online. 

The LCC Library participates in the Google Scholar Library Links program.  If you set your Google Scholar Settings to include links to articles found in LCC Library databases, you will be able to access full-text, peer-reviewed articles from LCC Library databases as well as other sources. Don't ever pay for an online article! Sometimes, we can find it for free or find something just as good. Ask a librarian for assistance.

Finally, if you cannot tell if your source is from a peer-reviewed journal, do the following:

  1. Type the name of the journal, "in quotes," into Google in order to find that journal's homepage.  Journals often like to brag if they are peer reviewed or refereed, so look for that on their website.
  2. Ask your instructor or a librarian to help you.

Special features of databases

Databases provide features that other Web and print resources do not.

  • You can email articles to yourself.
  • Get help with citations.
  • Find similar articles.
  • Customize search features.
  • Keep lists of articles for yourself.

Video: What is a database?

click here to view the "What is a Library Database?" tutorial

Helpful Handouts

How to Find Articles Using Library Databases
Describes how to search our four most popular databases all at the same time using the search blank under the "Articles/Databases" tab on our website.

Database Search Tips
A list of tips on how to craft more effective database searches.

Scholarly and Popular Articles: What is the Difference?
Explains the difference between articles from popular magazines and scholarly (also called peer-reviewed) journals, with examples of each.

Scholarly Articles: What to expect
Learn about the kinds of information provided in scholarly (or peer-reviewed) articles, how to find them and weave them into a project.

For more helpful handouts and tutorials, please take a look at our Research How-Tos collection.

What's a database, anyway?

  • Databases are large searchable collections of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles. 
  • Most files in the databases were originally published on paper.
  • Information in the database content is generally not available for free on the Web.
  • The databases cost money: the library pays so you don’t have to.
  • Some databases are general; others address specific subject areas.
  • Database content has been screened for reliability by editors, information professionals, and scholars.
  • Database content is updated frequently.

Other Fantastic Databases

We have a lot of other specialized databases. If you are looking for . . .

Newspaper Articles
The Register-Guard
 
database includes articles going back to the year 2001.
The New York Times
includes articles going back to the year 1985.

Pro and Con Articles
Opposing Viewpoints
includes articles, statistics, primary documents, and more. Look for "Viewpoints" for pro/con arguments.

 

We have many, many more databases to choose from. Take a look!

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