Assignment 3 - Finding Articles

On this page:

LibCat Article Limitations

Although LibCat does let you search for articles, it does not search all the databases the library has access to. LibCat also has limited functionality compared to the article databases. For example, the results list in LibCat doesn’t show the publication date for the article, so it’s more difficult to know if an article is recent enough for your topic.

For comprehensive results and better search options, you'll want to go directly into the databases through either the A-Z or Subject Areas list for your campus.

How Do I Find Journal Articles?

Journal articles are found using databases, which are large online collections of many journals. Although Mookini Library does have some print journals, most journals are only available online through the databases.

Unlike Google, journal article databases work best with keywords, not sentences, so instead of “How does nutrition impact a person's health and weight?” use just the big idea words nutrition health weight in the search box.

The Searching Tips we covered in the Books assignment can be used when searching for articles, too.

When you find a good article on your topic, remember to check the References list at the end for other articles on that topic.

Choose Your Campus

To search a library article database you must choose your campus: Mookini Library serves UH Hilo and both Hawaiʻi Community College campuses [East Hawaiʻi (Manono) and West Hawaiʻi (Pālamanui)].

  • Select Research at the top of any library webpage
  • Scroll down the library homepage and select the campus logo

Where to Search for Journal Articles

  • Although you can use LibCat to search for articles, for comprehensive results and better search options, go into the databases directly:
    • Databases - A-Z list: when you know the name of the database you want
    • Databases - Subject Areas list: collections of journals that focus on particular subjects.
      • Remember to try ones listed under "General Resources" as well as related subject areas, like Biology for Marine Science, Psychology for Sociology, etc.
    • Not sure where to start?
      • Academic Search Complete - the best place to start for almost any topic: magazine, scholarly academic, and newspaper articles.
      • JSTOR - doesn't have a lot of current content (last 5 years) but has articles back to the 1700s for some subject areas. Great for historical research.
      • Access World News - newspapers and other news sources from around the world, including Hawaiʻi newspapers. Great for very current issues.
      • ScienceDirect - Great for science subjects, but doesn't just have science articles; try it for other subject areas, too.

Although we will only look at Academic Search Complete in these assignments, when doing your own research, you should always search more than one database: they all have something unique!

Scholarly Journal or Magazine?

If you don't know the difference between a magazine and an academic journal or what a peer-reviewed journal is, check out the "Scholarly Journals vs. Magazines" page.

Example Academic Search Complete Search

From your campus access page, select Databases A-Z List then Academic Search Complete (it's the first one on the list.)

It's always a good idea to look at the way a database has presented the information before you start looking at the results:

  • How is the list organized: newest items at the top or most relevant, i.e. Google style?
  • In what ways can you further narrow the results? These are called limiters and can include type of material (book, DVD), publication dates, geographical area, and language.

The results from searching hula in Academic Search Complete don't look very promising...

Academic Search Complete basic search results for hula: The History of the Hawaiian Shirt, For the Record, The effect of bee pollen...

... unless we change the sort order from Date Newest to Relevance:

Academic Search Complete basic search results for hula sorted by relevance: Representation of indigenous cultures: considering the Hawaiian hula, Transnational Hula as Colonial Culture, Hula for the Future

When you find a title you want, select it to see the full record.

Academic Search Complete item record for "Representation of indigenous cultures: considering the Hawaiian hula" highlighting FindIt@Mookini link, Abstract, Tools (E-mail, Save, Cite)

The item record has additional information about the article, usually including an abstract, which is a summary of the article. Reading the abstract can give you a good idea of what the article will cover.

Other tools offered include emailing or saving the record and a draft citation for several styles. You can copy and paste the draft citation but then you need to verify it with the citation style manual.1

Many articles are available in full text, either html or .pdf. If you don't see either choice, look for a Find It link or see Find a Journal Title.

To Do - Assignment Instructions

You'll need to have the link below open in one tab / window and the library's website open in another. If you are logged into another email account in the same browser, you may need to log out of that account or use a different browser for your UH login.

English 102 - Danielle Carpenter


  1. One odd thing that happens occasionally is the author's name will be all in capital letters. This is usually an error, so always check! ↩︎