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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries


Guide for students in E314 classes

Find Articles, Books, Chapters, Reviews & More

A Good Search: Step-by-Step

First, you need to determine what tool to use for your search.

  • Take a moment to think about who might be writing and publishing the kinds of material you need. Will it be in a newspaper? A scholarly journal? A personal letter? When was it likely published?
  • With those questions in mind, look over the list of databases and choose one for a search. If you're still unsure what library databases are and how to use them, check out the helpful video at the bottom of the page.

To find databases for other fields that may speak to your research, check out the list of Databases by Subject.

Now you'll need to review your list of results to find an article or book that will be useful to you.

  • Are you looking for scholarly or popular or trade sources? Are you looking for primary or secondary sources? Not sure? Check out this decision tree to help you Evaluate Books and Articles.
  • Once you determine that a source is relevant to your topic and appropriate for the assignment, you're ready to actually find it! See Tab #3 Find the Physical Book or PDF.

Found a reference to an article or book you want to read? Now it's time to locate it!

  • Does the Catalog or database record you have found include full text? (Look for an HTML or PDF link.)
  • If the Catalog, database, or index record does not link to the full article or book, click the button to see if the full text is available electronically or, if you are not already in the Catalog, in print in the library.
  • No button? Copy the name of the journal or book and search for it in the Library Catalog title search.

Sometimes an encyclopedia entry, an article, or a book will list other articles and books that could be useful to you. This tutorial helps you find an article when you only have the citation.

Now use your article and catalog research to update your keywords and return to
Step 1.

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What is a Library Database?

Your instructor or subject librarian may throw around the term "library database" a lot, but what exactly do they mean? This video from RMIT University in Australia explains the term and how you can use databases for research. (Plus, the narrator has a great accent!)

Transcript available through YouTube.

Where's the Article?

If you don’t see a .pdf of the article you want, click Find it to find it in another database or in print in the Libraries.

If it is only in print in the Libraries or we don’t own the article, click Get scan to have the article emailed to you. This option will take a few days.

Dissertations & Theses

Dissertations and theses are works created by graduate students and are intended to be the culmination of a student's scholarly work. They are often valuable research tools, especially their bibliographies. Keep in mind that the editing process for dissertations and theses are different from books and articles, and in some cases, dissertations are revised and later published as books.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.