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FYSP 169: Decolonizing Global Capitalism: Finding Scholarly Articles at Oberlin

What is a Scholarly Article?

Both scholarly and peer-reviewed articles are written by experts in academic or professional fields. Scholarly articles are published in journals for specific academic disciplines. Many scholarly journals are also peer-reviewed.

Peer-reviewed articles are submitted to reviewers who are experts in the field. Because the reviewers specialize in the same scholarly area as the author, they are considered the author’s peers (hence “peer review”).

Both scholarly and peer-reviewed articles are excellent places to find what has been studied or researched on a topic, as well as find references to additional relevant sources of information. 

Finding Full Text

Many databases on the library's website include the full text of articles. Click on the PDF or HTML icon to download the article.

If full text is not available, click the Find It or 360 Link icons to see if there is access from another source. 

Look for 360 Link Find Full Text button icon displayed for each item in the library's databases. In Google Scholar, look for Find Full Text @ Oberlin. Access via publisher websites is generally limited to subscribers.

Full text is not always accessible for immediate download. The 360 Link may lead to an intermediary page offering access through Interlibrary loan. If you have trouble, consult the library staff.

Basic Database Search Techniques

Concept Explanation Example
Phrase search
(quotes required)
search for an exact phrase (most, but not all, databases use quotation marks) “death penalty”
“standardized test”
“reality TV”
Boolean logic (for keyword searching) use Boolean operators (AND, OR,
NOT) for more precise searching
See following examples
AND search for records that have all of the words (narrows the search)

race and poverty

drug use and educational attainment

OR search for records that have any of the words (broadens the search)

homosexual or gay or lesbian or queer

china or japan or korea

NOT exclude records that have the word (narrows the search) advertising not (TV or television)
Truncation search for a root word with any ending (most, but not all, databases use an asterisk *) adolescen* [finds adolescent, adolescents, adolescence]


Additional Database Techniques

Concept Definition Example
Complex Boolean Search place search words for the same
concept in the same search box
(or in parentheses)
(spous* or wife or wives or husband* or domestic partner*) and (abus* or batter* or violen*)
Proximity require words to appear within a certain distance of each other n (for “near”) = words can appear in any order w (for “within”) = words must appear in specified order poverty n4 mental health african w2 american* (n# and w# indicate the maximum number of intervening words) note: if no quotes or proximity connectors or are used, Ebsco defaults to w5
Field qualification (field limiting) require words to appear in a certain field in the database record (easy way: use dropdown menus)

au coleman (for author field)

ti racial profiling (for title field)

Limit (filter) restrict search results to a subset of the database e.g., by language, year of publication, type of publication
Add to folder select or save records from search results for future action save specified records to display, print, email, or add to bibliographic manager (e.g., RefWorks) later


Finding Scholarly Articles in Summon

Scholarly Article Databases