Here, you will learn how to find articles in a database. For information on peer-reviewed academic articles and databases, please go to the Open Access Databases tab and read “What is a ‘Peer-Reviewed Article’?”
In this section, you will also see how to take articles from this database and put them in your Zotero account. If you do not have a Zotero account, please go to the Citation Guide tab and follow the directions in “Zotero”.
We will start at the FSU Libraries home page, http://lib.fsu.edu/.
Click "Find a Database" on the left hand side of the page. Here, it is circled in red so you can find it more easily.
PLEASE NOTE. YOU CAN ONLY DO THIS WITH LIBRARY COMPUTERS ON CAMPUS. YOU CANNOT ACCESS FSU DATABASES AT HOME. IF YOU ARE DOING RESEARCH AT HOME, PLEASE USE SOME OF THE DATABASES UNDER THE OPEN ACCESS DATABASES TAB.
You should see this page after you click on Find a Database. Click on Academic Search Complete, the first link under Option 2.
You will see a search page, which looks like this. Please type anything you like into the search bar at the top of the page, and then click "search".
I searched for "international students", and received 9,044 results. Maybe I do not want this many results, and would like to look for something more specific. I will now do what is called a Boolean search.
Boolean search terms are: AND, OR, and NOT. They must always be in capital letters!
You can see them in the drop-down list here, but you can also type them directly into the search bar.
I searched for: international students AND libraries. Now I have 172 results. What happened? The Boolean search term AND tells the database that I only want results that have both these terms. Not results that only have "international students" or only have "libraries". Each result must have both terms.
Maybe I would like more results than this. How do I get more? I must use the Boolean search term OR. I know that in English, there are other terms that mean the same thing as "international students". But, I do not know which one I should use in this database to get the best results. Let's look at the search results page for: international students AND libraries.
Under the first result, we see the word "Subjects". The words following this are called keywords. Databases use certain keywords to organize their articles. We can look at keywords to find synonyms and get ideas on what to search. The first term I see is: "foreign students". Let's try that.
Now I have 291 results. Please notice that I wrote OR in capital letters. This tells the database that you are looking for everything that has the term "international students", everything that has the term "foreign students", and everything that has both terms. Please also notice that I put these terms on the same line, rather than using the third drop-down list below libraries. Things must be on the same line if you want the database to treat them the same way! If I wrote "foreign students" on the third line, I would get results that do not have the word "libraries". That is not what I want.
The Boolean term NOT takes out any words that I do not want to see in my search results. So, if I saw a lot of results for Canada or Canadians in these results, and I did not want to read about Canada, I could go down to the third line and add "NOT Canada".
Now, let us look at ways to limit or refine our search.
This column is on the left hand side of the search page. First, let's define "Source Types".
Academic Journals: These contain peer-reviewed articles. For information on peer-reviewed academic articles, please go to the Open Access Databases tab and read “What is a ‘Peer-Reviewed Article’?”
Magazines: These are written at the high school level, and are usually 3-5 pages. They are written by journalists who will do some research before writing their articles, but they are not experts on the subjects they are writing about.
Trade Publications: These have items for sale. Do not click on trade publications unless you want to buy something related to your search.
Book Reviews: These are someone else's opinion on a book. Do not click this unless your instructor tells you to look for book reviews. Usually, your instructor wants to read your opinion, not someone else's.
Newspapers: These are usually written at the elementary or primary school level, and are about 1-2 pages long.
I only want peer-reviewed articles, so I am going to click on Academic Journals. But I am ALSO going to click on "References Available" and "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals". This database will sometimes put things in "Academic Journals" that are not really from academic journals. When you are searching databases, it is best to click as many of these terms as you see.
Now, I have 49 results. Under the first result, you see a button that says, "Find it @ FSU". When you see this button in any of FSU's databases, it means that if you click it, it MIGHT link you to a page that has the entire article. If it does, you can use the Zotero browser extension to save it, just like we did in ERIC. But, the "Find it @ FSU" button might link you to a page that just says FSU cannot give you this article!
Under the second result, you see "PDF Full Text". This means the article is definitely there when you click on it, and you can read the entire thing. If you only want to see the search results that have "PDF Full Text", click on "Full Text" above "References Available".
Now, I have 29 results. All of them are "PDF Full Text".
There is one more way to refine this search. Look where it says "Publication Date" under "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals". The articles we see here were all published between 2002 and 2014. What if I only want articles from the last 5 years?
I can click on the box where it says "2002" and type in "2009".
Now, I have 17 results.
I am going to click on the first result, and show you how to put something from this database into Zotero.
When you click on an article, you should see a page that looks like this. The part circled in red is called the abstract. An abstract is a summary of an article. The abstract is useful, because it will tell you what the article is about. Then, you can decide whether or not you would like to read it. But, you cannot use the abstract in your paper! You can only use what is written in the article itself! The author of the article does not always write the abstract. In addition, if you cite an article in your paper and you have only read the abstract, this is considered plagiarism.
Now, on to Zotero. There are two ways to put this article into Zotero from this database.
If you have the browser extension downloaded, you can go up to your toolbar and click the same icon we used in ERIC.
When you hover over it here, it will say "Save to Zotero (EBSCOhost)".
Now, it is saved in the web version and the browser extension of Zotero.
Finally, you must make sure you have the PDF full text! Zotero does not always save this automatically!
Go back to My Library.
(Reminder: the page should look like this.)
If you do not see the item you just added to Zotero, refresh the page or press F5 on your keyboard.
Click on the title of the item you just added, and then scroll to the bottom of the page. You should see something at the bottom that says "PDF full text". In the web version of Zotero, it looks like this.
If you save an article at Strozier, this is how you can read it at home! If you save an article at home, this is how you can read it at Strozier, or on any other computer!
If you see this instead, you do not have the full text PDF, and you cannot read the article at home!
So, if you see this, how do you get the full text PDF?
Go back to the article page in Academic Search Complete.
On the left side of the page, you will see a link that says "PDF full text". Click it.
Then, you will see this page. This is the full text PDF. You can read it in your browser, or save it to your computer.
In the upper right hand corner of the screen, there is an arrow. Here, it is circled in red. This arrow means "download". Click on it.
You will see this box.
Click "Save to Zotero", and then click "OK".
In "My Library", you should click on the PDF you have just added and give it the same name as the article, so you can easily find it later.
This picture uses pie charts to show you what a Boolean search does.
Image courtesy of Tisch Library, Tufts University