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ELS/ESL Students' Guide to Library Resources

Find Articles

Databases for Finding Articles

Start with these databases:

If your topic is specific to a certain area (for example, education, criminal justice, media, etc), you may need to look for articles in a more specialized database. In Academic Search Complete click "Choose databases" above the search box and click on the database(s) you want to search.

To see more specialized databases by subject go to  the A-Z List of Databases, choose a subject from the drop-down menu and click "Go."

View the short video below to learn how to use Academic Search Complete.

Helpful terms for finding arguments

When you are trying to find arguments on a particular side, the words "pro" and "con" may not work and words like "for" and "against" may be ignored by the search engine.

Here are some terms to try:

Both sides of the debate "Pro" arguments "Con" arguments

argument*

aspect*

opinion*

controvers*

debate*

advocate*

champion*

proponent*

support*

sympathize*

advantage*

benefit*

opponent*

antagonist*

disadvantage*

drawback*

shortcoming*

Tips for Better Searching

Library databases work differently than Google. If you use a keyword search to find books on your topic, here are some tips:

  • Use quotation marks (“ ”) to keep words together, for example, “capital punishment”
  • Use AND between different words or phrases, for example, “capital punishment” and opponents
  • Think of synonyms and related terms. Use OR between them, for example, “capital punishment” or "death penalty"
  • Use an asterisk (*) to find different forms of the word, for example, opponent* will find opponent and  opponenets.

See more tips in "Tips for Online Searching"

Boolean Operators (a 3-minute YouTube video by Lexy Spry & Emily Wixson, Chemistry Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Get article full text

In some databases full text will follow the citation. In most instances for accessing full text you will have to look for icons that may look like this:

full text icons

If you don't see those icons or links don't work, look for the ArticleLinker icon. Clicking it will take you to the tool that searches for full text articles in library database. Learn how this tool works and how to make the most of it: ArticleLinker FAQ.

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