Locating and Accessing Articles as a Distance Education Student

Welcome to the “Locating and Accessing Articles as a Distance Education Student” tutorial, created by the Research Services department at the Mississippi State University Libraries. In this video, you will learn how to search for articles in library databases, access the full text of an article, and request an article through Interlibrary Loan. Let’s imagine I’m writing a paper about the relationship between sleep and grades among college students. To find a library database that may include articles about my topic, I’ll click on the orange “Databases” box from the library homepage. From here, I’ll click the dropdown menu labeled “All Subjects.” Since my research topic is related to psychology, I’ll choose “Psychology” as my subject. Now I can see a list of databases that all contain information about psychology-related topics. Looking through this list, I think I’ll try searching PsychINFO. Next, I’ll want to identify a few key terms that can help me find articles for my research paper. Since my topic is about how the amount of sleep you get can affect your college grades, I’ll try searching “college students” AND sleep AND grades. We’ll put “college students” in quotation marks, because that tells the database to search the term as a phrase, rather than two individual words. All right, let’s click “Search.” I’ve got 51 results, which feels pretty manageable, but if I want, I can use the limiters on the left-hand side of the page to narrow my search results. For example, I might want to look under “Source Type” and limit my results to articles published in academic journals. Looking at my results, I think this article titled “The relationship between sleep length and grade- point average among college students” looks interesting, so I’ll click on the title to learn more. The abstract here in the center of the page gives me a nice summary of the article. If I want to read the full text, I can click the “HTML Full Text” link on the left-hand side of the page, and here’s the full text of the article. Okay, let’s return to our list of results. Let’s say I want to read this article: “Alcohol consumption, sleep, and academic performance among college students.” As you can see, this article record does not provide a link to a PDF or HTML version of the full text. Occasionally, there will be a URL in the article record that links to the full text, so we’ll check for that. But scrolling through the record, I’m not seeing a URL. Our next step is to click the “Find It” button on the upper left side of the page. Sometimes, the “Find It” button will link you to the full text of the article, in which case, you’re done! If we don’t have electronic access to the article, you’ll instead see this page, with a message saying “No Full-text Results Found Online.” Since we don’t have electronic access to this article, you’ll want to place an Interlibrary Loan request, which you can do it by clicking this “Borrow/Order from another Library” link. Most of the article information should automatically fill out for you. As you look over the request, make sure to say “Yes” to “Copy Service.” This is a free service for distance students, and it means that if we have a copy of the article in print, a library employee will scan the article and send it to your Interlibrary Loan account as a PDF. If we do not have a copy of the article, we’ll get a copy from another library and send it to your Interlibrary Loan account. Go ahead and click “Submit Request.” Typically, articles will be available about one to two business days after you place your request. Searching a subject-specific database like PsychINFO is often the best way to find information on a given topic. However, if you’re trying to locate the full text of a particular article, you’ll want to search for it in EBSCO Discovery. EBSCO Discovery searches for articles across most of our other databases, and also includes results from the online catalog, such as books and DVDs. To search Discovery, you can use the large search box in the center of the library website’s homepage. Let’s say that our instructor told us to read an article titled “Medical Ethics and School Football.” We’ll type in that title and click “Search.” And here’s our article, including a PDF of the full text. For additional assistance with any of the resources discussed in this video, please contact the MSU Libraries.

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