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Research 101

The steps of the research process & how to apply them.

2c. Find Articles

Periodical Publications

Usually, most of the sources you use will be articles from peer-reviewed journals. The most typical way to acquire these articles is through a research database, which contains catalogued citations or even full-text articles. Learn how to find articles here.

Search the Library Catalog

Advanced Search

How to Find Journals

If you want to look for a specific journal or browse journals by title, follow these instructions:

  1. Navigate to the library catalog by choosing CatalogBasic Search from the navigation bar.

  2. In the catalog, select the Resources dropdown menu and choose the option eJournals A–Z List.

    Figure 1
    Dropdown Menu in the Library Catalog
    Resources dropdown menu in the library catalog.
  3. When the search junction appears, select the tab labeled Journals.

  4. Search or browse:

    • Search the eJournals A–Z List to find out if Northwestern provides full-text coverage.

    • Alternatively, select the Browse tab to see a complete list of journal titles.

    Figure 2
    Options in the Periodical Search Junction
    WorldCat search junction with Journal selected and both search and browse options available.
  1. Navigate to the library catalog by choosing CatalogBasic Search from the navigation bar.

  2. Choose the Advanced Search option.

    Figure 3
    Advanced Search
    Advanced search option in the library catalog.
  3. Under Search Index, select Title. Then type the name of the journal you want to find in the Search Term bar.

  4. Specify Journal/Magazine under Format and conduct your search.

    Figure 4
    The Advanced Search Screen
    Advanced search in WorldCat with the format dropdown menu highlighted.

While in an EBSCO database, select the tab labeled Publications to browse or search the publication list.

You can subscribe to receive updates from a particular journal by selecting the RSS icon () to the left of the journal’s title.

Figure 5
Publications Window in an EBSCO Database
Publication list displayed in a database.

Article Evaluation Tips

  • Is biographichal information for the author provided?

  • Who is the publisher?

  • How frequently is the periodical published?

  • How many and what kinds of advertisements are present? Are the ads geared toward a specific discipline or occupation?

Structure of an Article

Peer-reviewed articles usually have similar structure.

Note the following components of an article. If any of these are not present, you are most likely not looking at a peer-reviewed source.


The abstract is a summary of the article, including its conclusions. Reading the abstract will help you determine if the article will be relevant to your project.

Review of the literature

After a brief introduction, the article should review and summarize other studies on the same or related subjects, at the same time explaining why this new study is necessary.


The article should then present the methods used in the study.


The article presents the results of the present investigation.

Discussion or analysis
Finally, the paper should present some interpretation of the results with possible implications and suggestions for further research.


Figure 6
Why You Need Databases

Note. From What Are Databases and Why You Need Them, by Yavapai College Library, , YouTube ( Copyright by Yavpai College. Used with permission.

Available Databases

NWOSU subscribes to many databases.

Most research databases are proprietary, meaning you can’t access them from the open web. See our complete list of available databases on our database page:

Interdisciplinary Databases

Some databases are designed for specific subjects, but others are general or interdisciplinary, covering almost every subject.

The databases listed here have been selected for their extensive coverage:

Open-Access Databases

Most databases are proprietary, but some are open access, making peer-reviewed content freely available on the web.

Here are some of the most prominent open-access databases: