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Introduction to Library Research

Full Text

What does Full-Text mean?  

  • Full-Text means complete article.
  • Databases contain a mix of citations and articles.  Often you will get results that are just citations, not complete articles or Full-Text.  When you check off the box that says Full-Text, you are limiting your results to complete articles only.
  • Caveat:  Why not check off the Full-Text box all the time?  If you do, you will miss many possible articles and you will not get a complete picture of what literature exists on your topic.  This is really important if you are doing a literature review.  You want to know about everything written on your topic.
  • There are ways to get the complete article if the citation only (but no article) is available in the database.  We have a service that borrows from other libraries for you.  It is called InterLibrary Loan. Ask a librarian for help.



What are peer-reviewed articles? 

  • Peer-reviewed articles are articles written by experts and are reviewed by several other experts in the field before the article is published in the journal in order to insure the article's quality.
  • Most databases have a check-off box for this. Sometimes it is called scholarly, academic, or refereed.
  • Caveat: The check-off box ensures that the journal itself is an academic, peer-reviewed publication.  You may find information that is NOT peer-reviewed within that journal.  Examples include editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews.  These are not peer-reviewed.

Consider the publication date

The date an article was published is important!

If your topic is scientific (technical, science, or medical), then you probably want the most recent information.  Select articles that have been published within the last 5 years.

Caveat:  Sometimes you will want a landmark or historical article.  In that case, select the appropriate publication date.