How do I find an article on my topic?
Use the steps below to find article on your research topic.
Step 1: Search an appropriate database
The library subscribes to many research databases that can be used for finding articles by subject, author, title, etc. Some databases cover a broad range of subjects. Others are specialized for narrower fields of study. An alphabetical list of Briggs Library databases is linked here: Databases A to Z List.
If you are unsure which database would be best for your topic, start with the "Quick Search" tab on our library homepage, or choose a Research Guide for your subject area.
Step 2: Obtain a complete citation
To locate the article in the library, you will need a complete citation which includes the title of the journal, date of publication, volume and issue numbers, page numbers, author and title of the article. You will also need the complete citation in order to request an item through interlibrary loan (if the item is not available at Briggs Library), and to list the article in your bibliography.
If you need help with citations or a bibliography, Ask a Librarian!
Step 3: Locate the full text of the article
- Most of our library database include some full-text articles. Look for a full-text link, a PDF icon, or a button labeled "Find it at SDSU." If full-text is not available, the "Find it" button will link you to our ILLiad Interlibrary Loan service.
- For citations found in a print resource, through Google, or elsewhere outside of our library databases, follow these steps to find the full article.
- Select "Find a Journal" tab on the library homepage.
- Enter the title of the journal in the search box and click "Go".
- You may need to scroll through a list of entries to locate one that matches your journal title and the date you need.
- Journals that are available online will display a link along with the dates/volumes available. Note: If more than one link is provided, each link might provide access to different years/volumes of the journal. If the first one you try does not work, please try another link.
- Journals held in paper format will contain a line that states: "In print @ Briggs Library' followed by information about the years/volumes of the journal that are available in paper along with the call number, which is needed to locate the journal on the library shelves.
- If the journal is not owned by the library, or is not available online, you may request it through our Interlibrary Loan Service.
Step 4: Finding a print journal in the library
- Current issues of our print subscriptions are located on the main level, and are arranged by Dewey Decimal call number. Current periodicals may not be checked out but articles may be scanned or photocopied.
- Older print volumes are bound in hardcover and shelved by call number on the lower level.
- Some periodicals, especially newspapers, are kept on microfilm or microfiche.
Still have questions? No problem - Ask a Librarian!