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Research Essentials

Finding Articles

If you are looking for a specific article:

  • Go to the library home page and enter the article title in OneSearch
  • Select to search "Everything"
  • If it is a short title or has common words:
    • Put quotes around the title to search it as a phrase
    • Include the author's name or the journal title


In the search results screen, you may have one or more options:

  • Click the article title to access the full record, including
    • online access to the full text (if available)
    • a brief abstract describing the article
    • tools to cite the article, or download or email the record for the article
  • "Download Now" for a pdf copy of the full article
  • "View Issue Contents" to see the full table of contents from the same issue of the journal.


Click the article title or the "Online access" link to get to the full record for the article. In the Full Text Online section, check the Online access note. Sometimes the library has access to a journal through multiple sources, but not all sources include all articles. For this article, Wiley includes from 1997 until the current issue, but EBSCOhost has only from 2003 until one year ago. 


If the article is not in OneSearch

  • Look up the article in Google Scholar. If it is listed and the library has access, there should be a link to the full text. If the library does not have access, you can make an interlibrary loan request for the article. (If you are off campus, you can edit the settings in Google Scholar to be able to access articles Wesleyan subscribes to.) If it is not in Google Scholar, you can:
  • Make an interlibrary loan request for the article.


An alternate method to look for a specific article:

  • On the library home page, click the link under "Research" for "Journal titles A-Z"
  • Search for the title of the journal, magazine, or newspaper the article was published in
  • If the journal title is listed, click the title for access options and select the appropriate option for the specific volume and issue the article was published in.

First, what is "peer review"?

When a scholar submits an article to a peer reviewed academic journal, the article is read by other scholars in the field (the scholar's peers) who review the article to check the quality of the work and its significance to the field. They check to see whether the author uses appropriate methodology to establish the conclusions, has constructed the argument well (conclusions follow premises), has cited and responded to significant previous work, etc. Reviewers may reject an article, or require revisions before it is published.

Peer review does not guarantee an article is fully correct and conclusive, but it has been judged by experts to be a valuable contribution to research in the field. Nor does a lack of peer review mean an article or other source is not reliable and useful; however, you will need enough relevant knowledge of your own to make good judgments of the reliability of sources that have not been through a peer review process. It is generally best to start your own research with peer reviewed sources, then seek more diverse sources when you are better able to evaluate them on your own.

Note that not all contents of a peer reviewed journal are necessarily peer reviewed. The articles are, but editorials, book reviews, letters to the editors, etc., are not.

How to find peer reviewed articles:

  • Select an appropriate database to search:
    • On the library home page, search in OneSearch (as an "Everything" search)
    • On the library home page, click "Databases" to find an appropriate subject specific academic database (in the upper left of the Databases page, you can select to limit the list by "Subject"). Read the brief database descriptions to find the ones that include academic, scholarly content (as opposed to just primary source materials, general interest publications, etc.)
    • Use Google Scholar rather than regular Google if you want to do a general internet search
  • Search the database for your topic
  • For academic databases (including OneSearch), there should be an option (usually on the left side of the screen) to limit your results to "peer reviewed" or "scholarly" sources.
    Note: some databases allow you to pre-limit your search, so you can select to search only peer reviewed sources before performing your search.



To find articles on a specific topic:

Select a database to search

  • OneSearch (on the library home page) - An "Everything" search covers most, though not all, of what is accessible via the library, including articles in academic journals, magazines, and newspapers. It covers all subject areas. 
  • Databases (on the library home page) - select an appropriate subject database (choose from the drop-down menu for "Subject" in the upper left of the screen) for a more focused set of search results.

Start with keywords

  • Think of different ways to describe your topic: note likely keywords to find in titles, descriptions, etc.
  • You may want to use a reference source (encyclopedia, dictionary, etc) for background or summary information on your topic to come up with good search terms.
  • Do several searches with different keywords and combinations of keywords.

Use "Limit" and other features available in OneSearch and most other databases to refine your results

For example, you can limit search results to

  • Type of resource (e.g., academic journals, magazines, newspapers, ...)
  • Peer reviewed (articles in scholarly academic journals that have been reviewed by other scholars in the field before publication)
  • Date of publication
  • Subject (usually using standardized subject tags, so you can find everything in a database tagged with that subject term regardless of what synonyms or other language an author used)
  • Full text available (but of course you wouldn't wait until the day before a paper is due, so there is still plenty of time to make an interlibrary loan request when the database has only a citation to a useful article and not the full text)

Once you find a suitable article or few, you can use it to find more like it:

Click the title to open the full record for the article, and look for

  • Abstract - A brief description of the topic and contents of the article. Look for other keywords, phrases, and ideas to search for
  • Subjects - Click subject headings or include subject terms in searches to find other articles tagged with the same subject
  • Author - Click the author's name or search for the author to see whether that author has written other articles on the topic
  • "Cited by" - Some databases will list more recent articles that have cited this article since it was published

If you are in a database that has only a citation to an article but not the full text, the full text may be available by another source.

If Wesleyan library does not have access to an article you want, you can place an interlibrary loan request.

If you have not set up an interlibrary loan account, you can do so from the library home page: click the link for "My Account and ILL." The first time you log in with your Wesleyan username and password, it will prompt you for contact information. Once you fill that out, you are set to make interlibrary loan requests.

If you are in OneSearch:

  • Click the title of the article in the results list to get to the full record for the article
  • Under "Available from other libraries" there should be a link to "Request digital copy." Click that link, log into your interlibrary loan account, and it should fill out a form with all the information the library needs to get a copy of the article for you. Check to verify the information, add any "notes" you need, and click to submit the reqeust.

If you are in a database the library subscribes to (anything under the "Databases" link on the library home page):

  • Look for a "Find It" button, a "Check for full text" link, or similar option (different databases are set up differently). Click that option to trigger a search to see if the library has access.
  • If the library does not have access to the article, there should be an option to click to place an interlibrary loan request.

If you do not have an automatic link into the interlibrary loan system, you can fill out a blank form with the citation information:

  • Log into your interlibrary loan account (on the library home page: click the link for "My Account & ILL")
  • On the left under "New Request," click the option for "Article" and fill out the form


One other option to check:

  • In OneSearch, click the link in the top menu for "Journal Titles A-Z"
  • Search for the title of the journal, magazine, or newspaper the article is published in
  • If the title comes up in the results list, click the title to see the full record
  • Look in the "Full Text Online" section to see which issues are available from which source
  • If one of the options includes the correct volume and issue, click that option to get to the journal
  • Browse or search in the journal's site to find the specific article you want
  • If the journal is not listed or the article is not available in full text:
    • Log into your interlibrary loan account (on the library home page, click the link for "My Account & ILL")
    • On the left under "New Request," click the option for "Article" and fill out the form

Use information about the article:

If you found the article in OneSearch or one of the library's Databases, look at the description of the article there. Look for a list of keywords or subject terms and read the abstract describing the article to find other good search terms and do other searches with combinations of those terms. The database might also have an option to click for "find similar articles."

Use information in the article:

  • Look in the article's bibliography to find the author's sources. If any titles look promising, look them up in OneSearch to see if the library has access.
  • Look for terms, ideas, names, etc. in the article that would be good search terms to use in OneSearch or an appropriate discipline specific database.
  • If you found the article in OneSearch or another database, look at the record for the article and see if there are any "subject" terms listed for the article. If so, you can use those terms in a keyword search, or if the database has an "advanced search" option to do a "subject" search, search for those subject terms there.
  • Use the "advanced search" option in OneSearch or an appropriate database and do an "author name" search to see if the author has written any similar articles.


Use a Citation Index to find similar articles:


On the library home page, go to the list of Databases and find Web of Science (in spite of the name "Science" this also includes Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities citation indexes). 

You can also use Google Scholar as a citation index (see below).

In Web of Science, enter the title of the article, and select to search it as "title"


If Web of Science has a record for the article, click the title in the search results list to get to the full record for the article.

In the "Citation Network" section on the right side of the screen it will indicate whether the article has been cited since it was published. If it has been cited at least once, click the number above "Times Cited" to get the list of more recent articles that cited this article.

Click to "View Related Records" to find other articles that cite some of the same sources as this article. Articles citing the same sources are usually addressing similar topics. In this case, the article has 42 references in its bibliography, and "View Related Records" will find articles that cite at least one of them.

The ones with the most shared references -- and thus likely to be most similar -- show up at the top of the list. But the list can be long -- in the example below, 72,555 other articles cited at least 1 of this article's 42 sources.

You can narrow that list by "Refining Results" and search for appropriate keywords within the list of related records:


Google Scholar also works as a citation index. Look up the article you are starting with to find Google Scholar's citation for that article.

Click the "Cited by" link under the article for a list of articles that cite this article.

Click the "Related articles" link to find a list of similar articles.

Google Scholar covers more journals than Web of Science and thus is more likely to have a record for the article you are starting with, and to find at least some citing articles and related articles. But Google Scholar's algorithm for determining "related articles" is unclear and results are often not as good as in Web of Science. Also, Web of Science offers more functionality for searching and refining results.