Now that you’ve got the basics down, there are ways to sort through your results to get the best articles for your paper or project. You need to evaluate the articles to be sure that what you’re looking at is what you want.
Reading through three pages of a 14 page article, only to find that it isn’t something you can use, is frustrating and time-consuming.
There are easier ways to evaluate an article. There are also ways you can get additional, perhaps better, search terms as well–perfect for searches that turned up very little.
A common worry for students is also citing your work; whether you’re using APA or MLA formats, there is a quick, simple way to get the citation information–though it’s always a good idea to double-check the citations for accuracy, spelling, and spacing.
You can even email the citation to yourself, along with any full text and a link back to the article in the database, so that if something happens to your citation list or full text copy, you don’t have to do the search all over again to get the information back.
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1. If you find that your original search term doesn’t work well, look for an article that looks good and look at subject headings for other terms that might work better. You can also look for terms to use to combine with Boolean searching to narrow your results.
2. Use the abstract to get a better idea of what the article is about–no need to read the first several pages of a long article. Click on the magnifying glass icon to open the abstract in a pop-up window.
3. Some articles have HTML full text, some have PDF full text, some have both, and some have none. Look for full text links under the article information.
4. HTML looks like someone typed in the information–pictures, graphs, charts, and other visuals won’t be included. But if you want, you can click the Listen button to have the article read to you. You can change the speed and accent, too.
5. PDFs are scans of the articles and while they don’t have a Listen button, you get the original article’s pictures and other visuals.
6. To copy and paste the citation for an article, click the Cite link that looks like a yellow piece of paper. This opens a box at the top where APA and MLA citations can be found. Double-check all citations for accuracy.
7. Clicking the envelope opens a box at the top where you enter an email address so it can email the article information to you. If full text is available, it will send it to you–if it’s HTML, it won’t send you the Listen feature, though it does include a direct link back to the article so you can get back to the listen feature. It will also send you the ciation in APA or MLA format–again, double-check the citations for accuracy.
Want some practice? Try this case scenario, Agent X:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: to do a search for a full text article on the health benefits of swimming, and email the text and citation in APA or MLA format to yourself. This is your chance to practice doing a real search using what you’ve learned. Use Academic Search Premier to maximize your chances of finding full text.
To ponder: Did you find a PDF or an HTML article? Which do you prefer, and why? When you opened the email, did you find the link that takes you back to the article in EBSCO? Why would you want to email this information to yourself?