North Hall Library


ESL 1145

Where to Find Articles

One of the best places to start is the "Find Articles" tab on the Library's main webpage - this searches a few places so you can search right from there. 

If you want to go to a different database to find resources, you can look at resources like: 

Popular vs Scholarly Sources

Popular Sources

Works that are published by staff or freelance writers who do not have to have their work peer reviewed before publication.

These can be useful for community perspectives or popular opinion as examples in a paper, though they should be supported by more scholarly evidence.


Scholarly Sources

Works that have gone through a more detailed approval process for publication – usually peer review for articles or through an editor at a University Press.

Because they have gone through editors and/or peer review, these tend to be less likely to contain mistakes and are written by experts in the field for others researching in the same field.


Finding a "Good" Article and Using Multiple Viewpoints

Finding a "Good" Source

It can be easy to go onto Google or any other Internet search engine, type in your topic, and use information from that first website listed for a research project.

But is that site trustworthy? Has the author cited where their information came from? Does it actually relate to your topic?

There are a lot of things to consider about whether or not a source is "good enough" for your paper.

When your professor talks about articles, a great source to find them is the Library's databases. Make sure that you're checking where the articles are coming from, what they're really about, and if they're really relevant to your topic though - just because they're from the Library, doesn't mean you should just pick the first two or three to use.

Consider the following questions, compiled by the University of Texas at Arlington:

Criteria Questions to Ask

Authority / Credibility
Determining the author for a source is important in deciding whether information is credible. The author should show some evidence of being knowledgeable, reliable and truthful.

  • Who is the author (person, company, or organization)?
  • Does the source provide any information that leads you to believe the author is an expert on the topic?
  • Can you describe the author's background (experience, education, knowledge)?
  • Does the author provide citations? Do you think they are reputable?

The source should contain accurate and up-to-date information that can be verified by other sources.

  • Can facts or statistics be verified through another source?
  • Based on your knowledge, does the information seem accurate? Does it match the information found in other sources?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?

Scope / Relevance
It is important that the source meets the information needs and requirements of your research assignment.

  • Does the source cover your topic comprehensively or does it cover only one aspect?
  • To what extent does the source answer your research question?
  • Is the source considered popular or scholarly?
  • Is the terminology and language used easy to understand?
Currency / Date
Some written works are ageless (e.g., classic literature) while others (e.g., technological news) become outdated quickly. It is important to determine if currency is pertinent to your research.
  • When was the source written and published?
  • Has the information been updated recently?
  • Is currency pertinent to your research?
Objectivity / Bias / Reliability
Every author has an opinion. Recognizing this is instrumental in determining if the information presented is objective or biased. 
  • What is the purpose or motive for the source (educational, commercial, entertainment, promotional, etc.)?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the author pretending to be objective, but really trying to persuade, promote or sell something?

Style / Functionality
Style and functionality may be of lesser concern. However, if the source is not well-organized, its value is diminished.

  • Is the source well-written and organized?
  • To what extent is it professional looking?
  • If it is a website, can you navigate around easily?
  • If it is a website, are links broken



Using Multiple Viewpoints

Along with using reliable, trustworthy sources, you also want to make sure that you're including multiple viewpoints - not just pro or con, but any sides that are relevant to your topic so that you can show that you've really done the research on the topic and presented a complete view of  your research.

Databases like CQ Researcher or Points of View Reference Center can help you find these viewpoints on a variety of popular and controversial topics.

The Information Cycle

When you begin your research, you may find that you're not getting a lot of "scholarly," or peer-reviewed sources (also known as academic articles). This might be because your topic is too recent! The Information Cycle shows the timeline for when things are published related to an event. If you're not finding as many scholarly articles and books, consider broadening your topic a bit. 

Note for the sciences: In the sciences, research studies often go to a scholarly journal first and then to the news media (if they're published in the news.) 


The Information Cycle: An event happens. Immediately, it is available on the internet, television, and radio. Within a week, it is available in newspapers. Within a month it is available in popular magazines. All of these are considered fact-based sources. After a few months, you will see scholarly journals and government publications on the topic. At least a year later, books will be written on the topic. Years later, reference books, including encyclopedias, will be published including this topic. These later sources contain analysis about the event.

Library Jargon Dictionary

Library Jargon Dictionary

Term Definition Why use this? 
Abstract A short summary of an article

Helps you understand what the article is about without having to read the whole thing and helps you eliminate articles that aren't relevant to your research

Boolean operators Basic terms you put between search terms to indicate relationship between terms (AND, OR, NOT) Help narrow or broaden your search
Call number The number on the spine of the book that helps librarians organize books on the shelves This is how you find books on the shelves - they're organized by Library of Congress call numbers
Database An online resource where you find journal articles, newspaper articles, magazine articles, and more These can help you find articles and other online resources for your research
Journal A collection of articles written by scholars or experts in their fields These are where you find articles, whether they're online journals or print journals. These articles tend to be narrow in scope. 
Magazine A collection of articles generally written by staff or freelance writers and aimed at the general public These are often considered "popular" and not "scholarly" 
Peer Reviewed A piece of writing that has been reviewed by other experts in the field who have approved it for publication This is what professors usually mean when they want you to use "scholarly" resources
Permalink A link that will always take you back to the article you've found Make sure that you look for these. In library databases, the URL at the top of the webpage tends to change, so a permalink may be the only way to get back to the article you found if you didn't save a PDF copy
Refereed (same as Peer Reviewed)  
Stacks Where the books are located When you go to the stacks to find a book, you can look around the book to find others that might be useful to your research (also known as "shelf reading")

Subject Librarian

Profile Photo
Holly Jackson

112 North Hall Library
Mansfield University
Mansfield, PA 16933

Librarian for: African American Studies, English, First Year Experience, History, international students, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Student Success Services, World Languages

Pronouns: she/her

Google Scholar

Google Scholar allows you to search for many different resources on the web, including books and articles.

Pro Tip: You can make Google Scholar link to the library content that is available free.


NOTE FOR VIDEO VIEWERS: The name of our linking has changed since I made the video.
The link is now "Mansfield University - Full Text - Full Text @ MU".



Accessing Articles: Some of the articles may be available online from the library, but you need to set up Google Scholar to know that you are associated with Mansfield University. Here's how:

  1. Go to Scholar Settings
  2. Under "Library Links" enter Mansfield University and click on search
  3. Place a check in front of Mansfield University.
  4. At the bottom of the page, click on "Save"
  5. Now, if the full text is available, there will be a link to the library.

Things not available online: If there is something you want that isn't available online, request it through ILLiad.