Finding Articles

Bookmark and Share

Articles in periodical publications are excellent sources of information.

The term “periodicals” includes:

To find periodical articles on your topic, begin with an article database. Often the database will supply you with the full text of articles. If not, you may need to locate the actual print periodical in the library. But first, be aware that the process of finding articles involves three steps:

  1. Choose one or more appropriate databases.
  2. Search those databases using appropriate search strategies. (link to section below)
  3. Read and evaluate the articles. (link to section below)

Step 1: Choose an Appropriate Article Database

An appropriate database is one that indexes periodicals likely to carry articles on your subject. A good one to start with for most topics is the general, interdisciplinary database entitled Academic OneFile, which can be found via the Database Finder. This database indexes more than 1500 scholarly, trade, and general interest periodicals, including the leading journals of the various academic disciplines, along with national news and commentary. Its coverage, from 1980 to current, is updated daily. Over half the articles are full text.

Periodical databases targeted to specific subject fields are suggested in subject-based research guides. In some cases, a subject-specific database will be the best starting point for a research project, and frequently it will prove an important second or third source for finding articles. Also, full-text newspaper databases like LexisNexis, the Boston Globe and the New York Times are good sources to consult.

If you know the name of a database appropriate for your purpose, you can easily find and access it in our Database Finder.

To search several databases simultaneously, which you may find an efficient way to start, try Database MultiSearch.

Step 2: Search the database(s), using recommended techniques explained in Basic Search Tips.

Most databases belong to families, each with their own look and feel. For search guidelines arranged by database family, see Database Searching Tips

Step 3: Locate and read the articles. As you do, evaluate (link to below) them for their relevance.

To locate articles:

Locating Periodicals

When you find a periodical in the Tufts library catalog, make sure the issue you need is held within our subscription. Note the call number and match the beginning of your call number with the chart below.

Tisch Bound Periodicals Stacks

Level 2: for call numbers A-BF1
Level 1: for call numbers BF1-PZ
Level G: for call numbers Q-Z, also all Oversized

Tisch Current Periodicals

Level 2 (alphabetic by title)

Tisch Microforms

Level 2 (by Micro Range number)

Evaluating Periodical Articles

Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is the article sufficiently up-to-date for my purpose? For example, if it is a scientific article, will it incorporate the latest findings?
  2. Is it from a scholarly journal (sometimes called a “peer-reviewed” or “refereed” journal) and so reviewed by experts and accepted by a knowledgeable editor for publication? Even so, be aware that journals can accept articles that will provoke controversy about issues not finally decided.
  3. If not, is it published in a magazine with a reputation for publishing substantive, in-depth journalism, such as Harpers, the New Yorker, etc.?
  4. Is it published by a periodical known for having a certain political slant? If so, you will need to take that slant into consideration.
  5. If it is published in a popular magazine, do you have a reason for needing a popular take on your topic?

Tufts University