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After using the encyclopedias, you'll want to find some articles. Here are some important differences in encyclopedias and articles:

  • Articles are more specific in focus than encyclopedias.
  • Encyclopedias attempt to tell you the most important known facts about a specific topic in an objective manner. In academic journal articles, researchers and scientists are publishing new information based on their research. These are also objective and are usually aimed at the authors' colleagues, which means the language can be highly technical and discipline-specific. Magazine and newspaper articles are usually aimed at a more general audience and have very little technical language. Much of the content in newspapers is objective reporting, but you have to be aware that newspapers also include editorials that express certain points of opinion. It's important that you understand what kind of article you are reading. Magazine articles also require evaluation, as many magazines have a distinct editorial point-of-view.
  • Using encyclopedias first helps you create a framework for understanding the more specific information in articles. 

Academic Search Premier is a general article search engine, and it's always a good place to start your research.

You can find Academic Search Premier and other article search engines on the Library's website, by clicking on the "Articles & More" button on the home page.

Library Icon Articles

On that Articles & More page, the very first link is to Academic Search Premier.

Note: If you're off-campus, you will need to enter your COCC ID# and last name to access online resources.

Interpreting Search Results

After you search, you get back a list of results. If you're not used to these kinds of search results, they can be confusing. Here's what you're seeing:

Take a look at the example search result below, from Academic Search Premier.

#1, highlighted in green, is the title of the article.
#2, highlighted in yellow, are the article’s authors.
#3, highlighted in pink, is the information about the journal – the journal title, the date of publication, and the number of pages and graphics present in the article.

To get the full-text of this article, you’d just click on the “HTML Full Text” or “PDF Full Text” links at the bottom of the citation.

Sometimes in a database, you will see this icon at the bottom of a result citation:

link resolver

This means that the full-text of this particular article is not available in the database you’re currently searching. If you click on this “Check for Full Text” button, it will search all of the Library’s other online databases to see if we have an online copy of the article. If not, it will direct you to request the article through Interlibrary Loan, a service where we will borrow the article from another library for you. It can take anywhere from 1 – 4 days to get an article through Interlibrary Loan, so plan accordingly if you need to request something.