Where to find article citations
- Library databases
- Footnotes and bibliographies
- Internet (e.g., Google Scholar, academia.edu, web pages of researchers, online articles)
How to select databases for searching
- General academic databases are good for searches across disciplines and introductory-level searches while learning about a new field (e.g., Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, MasterFILE Premier)
- Discipline-specific databases are best for deeper searching within an identified discipline (e.g., ATLA Religion Database, Consumer Health Premier)
- Highly specialized databases are helpful for narrowly-focused queries within a sub-discipline (e.g., Luther's Works, New Testament Abstracts, CAMIO for art images, Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology)
How to navigate a library database
- Start with your keywords, or an article you found in a bibliography:
e.g., congregation* communit* faith
- Do another search using relevant SUBJECT HEADINGS that you noted in the search above
e.g., FAITH DEVELOPMENT ; CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES
- Search by a combination of subject headings or subject keywords and regular keywords
e.g., SPIRITUAL | formation | congregation*
How to choose among sources
- Is the selected source on topic, or is it tangential to your central purpose?
- Is the source appropriate for your purpose? (For example, a newspaper article is likely not the best source for your scholarly biblical studies paper, but it might be fine for mention in a sermon or a Christian education class you are teaching)
- Is it a primary or secondary source? (And do you have the correct balance of primary and secondary sources for your topic?)
- Is it available within the time frame you have available for reading it?
Questions to ask when evaluating an article
- Is the article peer reviewed?
- Are the author's credentials available? Can you locate more information about the author and previous writings to determine if this topic is a central or tangential concern based on the author's education and experience?
- What is the article's publication date? Is this appropriate for the particular field you are working in? (For example, articles about theology may be relevant for many years, but articles about information technology are likely to be out-of-date within 5 years, or perhaps sooner.)
- What is the length of the article? Shorter articles are not likely to provide in-depth coverage of a topic, but may be appropriate for a specific sub-topic.
- Is there an abstract that helps you identify the point of the article and its findings quickly? Skimming these can save you time by helping you select only the most on-target results.
Still stuck? Here are some other resources about selecting quality journal resources: