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Basic Research Guide

English 1000


A database is an online index to magazine and journal articles, book chapters, etc. Databases often provide access to full-text of articles.

Why Use a Database?

You use a database to save yourself time and effort!  A database scans thousands of journal and magazine issues to find articles that match your topic, so you don't have to look at individual pages and issues .  It shows exactly which issue has the article(s) on your topic. 

Use a database to find article information on your topic. You can use Discover@MU to determine whether the article(s) is available fulltext online or in print. 

Use Interlibrary Loan to obtain copies of articles from other libraries.

The easiest way to select the best database is to use the a list of our databases (once you follow this link, click the tab for Databases by Subject.  On the Subject databases page choose your subject area and click and you will get a list of databases that cover your subject.

Discover@MU is a multidisciplinary database tool that will have both popular and scholarly articles (as well as books) and are good places to start your research:

The following multidisciplinary database has only scholarly articles:

The following specialized databases have only scholarly articles:

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature across many disciplines.

Google Scholar Search


Search Strategies

When searching for articles, it can be important to start with a search strategy. Please see the tab for search strategies to learn how to create a search strategy for your topic.

Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals

Peer-Reviewed Articles

If you have an article citation, use the Find a Specific Article link to access the full-text of the article.

In the Databases

If you don't see a link to the PDF of an article, click on the Find It @MU icon  FindIt@MU to find full-text.  Check out our FindIt@MU guide for detailed instructions.

Contact a Librarian

A great next step is to reach out to a librarian using the "Ask Us" button on the top right side of the screen. 

You can also find several other ways to contact the library on our "Contact Us" page.

Check Google Scholar

If you are not finding the full text of the article you're looking for in Discover@MU or when using the Find a Specific Article tool. The next step should be to check Google Scholar for freely available access. 

  1. Go to Google Scholar
  2. Type the title of your article into the search
  3.  If the article is available, it might have a link to the right of the article information. You can also see if the full text is freely available by clicking the link for the article title
  4. If you have the MU Libraries linked to your Google Scholar, it may also bring up a link to the right of the article information that can show you where in the library databases you can find that article

Interlibrary Loan

If Google Scholar does not have the article freely available in full text, likely you can still get access to that article through interlibrary loan