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Finding Resources from the Library: I Need an Article

Use this guide to find resources in the library and online for class, projects, and fun.

Journal Articles from Databases




Journal Articles are stored in databases.
Databases are like electronic filing cabinets.

Researchers write articles about their research and then publish them in Academic Journals.

Then these journals are available through databases that the library purchases for your use.

Why use Databases?

Why not just Google the information?

Anyone can publish on the internet.

They may or may not know their topic.

In order to publish in a journal, you must be an expert and meet specific standards in your area of expertise.

This means that you can trust what you read in a Journal Article.

Best Database to Begin a Basic Search

Free Databases

Parts of a Journal Article


An Abstract is a brief summary written by the author of a paper. It provides a short background and the conclusions of the research. Not all papers contain an Abstract. If one is provided, most Databases will post this Abstract in the Entry page (what opens when you click on the Article's link). Read this section to decide whether or not you want to continue reading.


Most papers will provide an introduction to the topic being discussed. It might discuss the history of the topic, previous research, and related topics. You should read this section to gain a background of the topic. You can skim sections that are unrelated to your topic.

Literature Review

Some articles will also have a Literature Review that describes previous research on the topic. You can use this section to find other sources to use in your paper as well. Some online articles will provide hyperlinks to these articles, but all will provide the citation necessary for you to find the articles yourself. If you cannot find an article, please contact library staff. We can usually order the article through Inter-Library Loan at no cost to you. Give staff a week or more to find the article as we have to rely on librarians at other institutions to send it to us.


The Methodology provides exactly how the researchers conducted the research for the article. For example, if a doctor is researching a new cancer drug for treating patients, the doctor will publish the results from their research.

You do NOT need to read this section, unless instructed by your professor. Researchers can use this section to determine the credibility of the research. As you are not an expert in research or the field of study, then it may be unhelpful and even confusing for you to read through it. It is important that if you do read this section, consider looking up words that are unfamiliar to you.


Read this section. It describes what the researchers found within their study. This is the heart of the article. It is the most important section.

Important Tips

  1. Use the Search feature within the article to find the parts most related to your research. If it does not have a search feature, simply hit "Control F" to open the Find feature on your browser (Command F on a Mac).

  2. Some databases will offer "Related Searches" or something similar. This can provide articles similar to ones that you find that may fit your needs.

  3. Some databases will allow you to Sign In. This will enable you to save your searches and view them at a later date (very helpful if you conduct the research on multiple days, or want to review articles for a different project). The Sign-in is usually at the top of the page.

  4. Search in multiple databases.

  5. Use the Subject Terms, Thesaurus, Terms or related tools (usually at the top of the page). This will allow you find the terms that databases uses for any topic. It can also help you to narrow your focus if you are having trouble (or broaden if you are not finding any information).

  6. Google terms if you are unsure of which ones to search for (if the database does not offer what is discussed in Tip 5).

What are Databases?

Remote access to databases, eBooks and eAudiobooks requires username/password available only to Northland Pioneer College faculty, staff and currently enrolled students.

  • Log in to MyNPC.
  • Click on the "My Courses" tab.
  • On the right side of the screen under "Other Important Information" you will see "Library Information"
  • Click on the link to "Passwords for Access to the Library Databases".

Subject Guides or A-Z Database List

You can go directly to the Subject Guide for your class or subject. On the Articles tab of these guides will be a list of pertinent and reliable Databases specific to your topic.

Borrowing Articles Not in Our Databases

You can receive copies of Journal Articles from other libraries if we do not subscribe to the appropriate Database.

If you find an article that you need, please contact library staff to receive a copy for free through InterLibrary Loan. This may take a day or more (maybe even a couple weeks) to arrive. It will be emailed to you when ready. You do not need to return anything.

Associate Librarian

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Luann Crosby
SCC Campus
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