Finding Scholarly Articles

You need to write a term paper, and you have no idea how to find the relevant scientific articles on the topic.  What to do!?  Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

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1. Google (Scholar) is your friend. I need to find articles on classical conditioning in earthworms. I typed “earthworm Pavlovian conditioning” into Google, and got this page. At the top you see the entry for “Scholarly articles for earthworm pavlovian conditioning.” Click on it and you will get

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2: This page — results of a Google Scholar search for the term that I entered. This page contains papers that probably were drawn from the scientific literature. The third one down looks promising; I click on “All 3 versions” near the end of that entry.

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3: Then I see this – one link to the actual article, and two links to citations. I don’t want a citation, I want the real thing, so I click on the top link and get to…

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4: This page, the article’s entry in PsycNET. I see that the right side of the page offers me the option to buy the article, but it does not appear that the article is available for free here. I really want it, so I decide to try our library. I copy the title of the article, go to the library home page…

 

5: I paste the article title into the OneSearch box at the top of the page, then click Search...

5: I paste the article title into the OneSearch box at the top of the page, then click Search.

Now I remember that i saw another promising article in the OneSearch results.  I want to look at the second entry, so I click it...

6: The top article is the one I want, and near the end of the entry I see “Full Text Online.” I click it.

 

I'm almost there.  At the right I see a link to "Full Text - PDF." I click it...

7: I’m almost there. At the right I see a link to “Full Text – PDF.” I click it…

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8: Here’s the article! I can read it online, or use the option near the top of the page to open it in my pdf reader, and then save it to my computer for future use.

Now I remember that I saw another promising article in the OneSearch results.

Now I remember that i saw another promising article in the OneSearch results.  I want to look at the second entry, so I click it...

1: I want to look at the second entry, so I click it…

8: Unfortunately I get a page indicating that the document is unavailable, but I notice a "Check for Full Text" button.  I click it...

2: Unfortunately I get a page indicating that the document is unavailable, but I notice a “Check for Full Text” button. I click it…

9: and see this page, which indicates that I can view the Full Text Online from PsychARTICLES. I click that link, and,,,

3: And see this page, which indicates that I can view the Full Text Online from PsychARTICLES. I click that link, and,,,

 

9: This page, where I have the option to select "Full Text - PDF" on the righ-hand side.  Clicking that link ...

4: I get to this page, where I have the option to select “Full Text – PDF” on the right-hand side. Clicking that link …

10: And here's the full text of that article.

5: I get to the full text of that article.

And if the article had not been available online through our library, I’m not out of luck.  In Panel 2 above, and an many other library search pages, there is a blue link that allows me to request an article through Inter Library Loan (ILLiad).  Our librarians will get an electronic copy of an article to me quickly once I fill out the info requested when I click that link.  As an alternative to ILL, if you can find the first author’s email address, send an email requesting the paper.  Authors  are very happy to get such emails, and will nearly always reply with a copy of the article.

Remember, once you read an article you will have many more ideas about useful terms to enter into a search engine (whether it is Google Scholar or one of the databases provided by the Library, such as PsycINFO or Web of Knowledge).  For example, I might decide to search for “Lumbricus learning.” a search that will likely yield many other useful articleds

Another very useful tool allows me to search forward in time. Suppose I decide that the Ratner & Miller article is crucial to my paper, but I note that it is a really old article.  I wonder if anyone has done related work since then.

5: I paste the article title into the OneSearch box at the top of the page, then click Search...

1: I go back to the Library’s home page and click on the box labelled “Subject Guides.”

2: That takes me to a long list; I scan doiwn until I find "Neuroscience" under "Sciences > Biological Science."

2: That takes me to a long list; I scan down until I find “Neuroscience” under “Sciences > Biological Science.”

3: THsi brings up a list of databases useful to searches in Neuroscience.  I scan down and find "Science Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)."

3: This brings up a list of databases useful to searches in Neuroscience. I scan down and find “Science Citation Index (Web of Knowledge).”

In "Web of Knowledge" I select "Basic Search > Cited Reference Search."

4: In “Web of Knowledge” I select “Basic Search > Cited Reference Search.”

5: Here I enter the authors last name and initials, then click "Search."

5: Here I enter the authors last name and initials, then click “Search.”

I see that there are LOTS of articles by Ratner SC.  I scan down to find the one that I care about (noting that there are two from 1959, I select the correct one) and check the box beside it.  HTen at the bottom of the page I click "Finish Search."

6: I see that there are LOTS of articles by Ratner SC. I scan down to find the one that I care about (noting that there are two from 1959, I select the correct one) and check the box beside it. Then at the bottom of the page I click “Finish Search.”

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7: And I’m taken to a page that offers four articles published since 1986 (the earliest year covered in this database) that cited the Ratner and Miller article. Are they all relevant? I might not be able to tell without reading them, but finding them was easy!

 

Use this guide as an example of useful ways of searching.  There are many more ways to find useful and relevant articles, all of them far easier than the old-fashioned approach.

 

compare1997withPsyAbstracts1927(wwwJolley-MitchellCom)

Library-Card-Catalog-1(wwwRetronautCom)

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