While the ease of full text multidisciplinary collections (described in the box on the lower right of this page) are easy and fast; knowing and effectively using the databases published by the academic scholarly societies can make your research better. These databases employ editors with disciplinary expertise to select the best scholarly presses and journals for the discipline and create descriptions of those publications (individual articles, book chapters, books) using subject headings and other descriptive elements appropriate for the discipline. These kinds of search elements can greatly improve the relevance of the articles you choose.
The first thing you should do when you have a research assignment is figure out what types of article sources are required or allowed. Some professors require you to use only scholarly peer-reviewed journals while others might let you use professional journals (also known as trade journals.
Scholarly article - written by an expert in the field and reviewed by peers who are experts in the same area. In many databases, you can limit your search to scholarly, peer-reviewed or refereed journals to weed out any non-scholarly content.
Professional/trade article - Trade or professional journals can have articles written by experts in the field or by staff writers. The articles are only reviewed by editors for style, so they go through a less rigorous review process. The articles often do not contain reference lists.
Popular journals - Written for a general audience rather than for professionals or scholars. Examples include The New Yorker, People, and Rolling Stone.
If the article you have found in a database doesn't have the full-text right there, click on the button to see if the article is available in full-text in another database. If we do have it, it will take you to a page that shows you where it's available (if you see a Download Article link, you can click to access the electronic copy).
This page features databases that will link you directly to the article you've found. However, as a researcher, many times you'll discover excellent articles in the references your find in articles you're reading. Here's how to get to look up those articles.