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This page contains information on how to find articles.

Finding articles on a topic

To find articles on a topic, you can use WorldCat or more specialized databases.


Using WorldCat to search for articles

In addition to books and media, you can also use WorldCat to search for articles from a wide range of sources. (For a complete list of all indexed journals and other content available through WorldCat, please visit the please visit the OCLC web site.)

Note: For more specialized, thorough searches, consider using a database to search for articles.

Searching for articles in WorldCat is similar to searching for books and media. You can use search using keywords, title, subjects, etc and then use the filtering features to limit your results to display articles.

Under Format, select Article to see only articles in the results list.

If you only want to see articles that have been peer-reviewed, clear the check-box next to Articles so that only Peer-reviewed is selected.

You can also use the Available Online option to only see articles where the full-text is available for you to view online.

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Using databases to search for articles

Another way to find articles is to use a database to search for articles.

Databases are search engines that allow you to search across collections of journals and articles. Some databases, like Scopus and ProQuest, are multidisciplinary and include articles from a variety of academic disciplines. Others, like PubMed, are more specialized and focus on a single discipline.

A few reasons why you might want to use a database instead of WorldCat

  • Although WorldCat contains a very large number of journals and articles, it does not include everything. Especially when you are doing searches that are more specialized, complex or comprehensive, it will be important for you to explore the full range of information available on a topic. Choosing the right databases to search will be critical!
  • Databases usually provide more comprehensive and flexible search tools than WorldCat. These advanced search tools require a bit more effort to use, but can make it easier for you to locate what you are looking for without having to sift through a large number of results.

The first step in using databases to find articles is to determine what databases to use. For more information, see Find databases.

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Finding a specific article

What are citation styles?

In academia there are a number of different ways that books and articles are cited. To learn more about the different citation styles, see Citation guides.

Sometimes you will need to find a copy of a specific article. For example, there might be articles that are cited in books or articles that you are reading for class that you would like to read for yourself. An article that is listed in a bibliography might look something like this:

Mintzberg, H. (1994). The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning. Harvard Business Review, 72, 1, 107.

Without going into all the details, this is the citation for an article written by H. Mintzberg called The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning that was published in the Harvard Business Review in 1994. This citation gives us all the information we need to find that article.

Step 1: Search for a specific article by title

Search by DOI or PMID

You can use the WorldCat A-Z list to search for an article by DOI or PMID. (Select DOI or PMID from the Identifier drop-down menu.)

To find a specific article, first use WorldCat to search for the article by title.

Tip: For best results, include double quotes around the title of the article (ex. "Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning").

WorldCat will display your search results, along with several options to filter or sort them.

Under Format, select Article to see only articles in the results list.

Find Full Text

Some databases and search engines will display a "Find Full Text" button next to articles in your search results.

Click this button to check if you can get the full text of the article through McGill Library.

Step 2: Retrieve the article

Access the electronic version of the article. Once you find the article in WorldCat Local, if McGill has access to the electronic version of the file, click View Now to see links to the article.

Search for the journal containing the print version of the article. If there is no link to the electronic version of the article, you should search for the journal that the article was published in.

If McGill has a print version of the journal, you can then retrieve the appropriate journal volume from the Library just as you would any other book. McGill students, faculty and staff may also request a scanned copy of an indivual article or delivery of journal volumes for pickup to any branch services desk.

Interlibrary loan. If McGill doesn't have the electronic or print version of the article, you can use our Interlibrary Loan service to request the article. We'll find the article at another library and deliver it to you.


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