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Find a Specific Article

Quick Help


Use the Easy Search box on the  Main Library's homepage to search for the title of the article. Ideally, the results page will contain article matches for your search.

If Easy Search does not work, try your search using the  Journal and Article Locator. Type in all of the citation information that you have. 

Your search may take you directly to the article, or if the tool could not find the article, it may link you to the appropriate journal in the Online Journals & Databases tool. Open the journal and search it for the title and author of the article you would like.
In addition to using Google Scholar to parse out citations you would like to track down, try using the Library's tools that focus on campus database subscriptions. 

Use the Easy Search tool

  1. To locate an article you have the full citation for, the quickest strategy is to type the article title into the "Easy Search" box on the Main Library's homepage. Consider also using the dropdown menu to choose a specific subject to include in the search.

    exact article title search

  2. As an example, we are going to search for the following article:

    Falchi, F., Cinzano, P., Elvidge, C. D., Keith, D. M., & Haim, A. (2011). Limiting the impact of light pollution on human health, environment and stellar visibility. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(10), 2714-2722.

    This citation is in APA format. If you have a citation in MLA, Chicago, or some other style then it may be written slightly differently but should contain the same details. For more information on formatting citations, visit this Color-coded Citation Style page on the Main Library's website.

    sample citation

  3. Frequently, Easy Search will lead you directly to an online version of the correct article.

    easy search results

    Tip 1: If you are finding more than one result, try using the dropdown menu to specify that you are looking for the title. You can also retry the search using the author's name and specifying "author" in the dropdown menu.

    Tip 2: Be sure to look at the bottom of the page for Google Scholar results as well.

    google scholar

However, there are times when using Easy Search to find an article does not work for various reasons. Fortunately, there are other ways to locate journal articles.

Try the Journal & Article Locator tool

  1. If you have the full citation for the article you are looking for go to the Main Library's homepage and choose the Journal and Article Locator.

    article locator link

  2. Fill in as much of the citation information as you have. If you have a full citation you should be able to fill in all of this. If you do not, fill in what you have and then skip ahead or visit the tutorial How do I find an article if I don't have a full citation?

    journal and article locator

    Note: If you are not on a campus computer you will have to sign in to the library's proxy server before the search is completed. Do this using your NetID and Active Directory Password. If you have forgotten one of those, visit the Cites Password Manager.

  3. Once you have signed in, you will be automatically redirected to the article.

    found article

    Most databases offer a variety of features intended to make your research simpler. Be sure to look for pdf versions of the article that you can download, a way to export a full citation of the article to a citation management tool, the option to email yourself a copy of the article, and more. If there is no full text access look for the DISCOVER button to locate the pdf of the article in an alternative database.

    discover button


    found for real

  4. If the Journal and Article Locator does not have enough information (for example if you did not have a year or volume number to enter) or if the search fails, you will be taken to a Journal and Article Locator Results screen that looks like this:

    discover results screen

    Sometimes this screen will have a direct link to an “Article Match” that you can choose.

    article match link

  5. If this is not the case, you can also choose the Discover E-resources A-Z link. Because we have the full title of the journal from the citation, choose "Start of Title Matches" instead of "Keyword Search Matches." This will ensure that you only search for journals that start with the words you search rather than those that contain the words anywhere in them.

    discover e-resources

  6. This will take you to the journal’s listing within the Online Journals & Databases tool. Find the correct journal title on the list of results. Be sure to pay attention to the dates each link covers. It is common for a database to only contain certain years of a journal title. For example, in this search, Elsevier ScienceDirect Complete contains articles from 1990 on while Elsevier SD Backfile Environment Sciences Supplement only contains articles that were published from 1990-1994.

    For this search, we will choose Elsevier ScienceDirect Complete because the article we are searching for was published in 2011.

    journal results list

  7. A Discover pop-up window will open. Choose "Go" to continue to the database.

    discover pop-up window

    Note: This is another point where you may need to login if you are not using a campus computer. Do so using your NetID and Active Directory password. If you have forgotten either of these, visit the Cites Password Manager.

  8. Every database and journal page will be different. Somewhere on each one there should be a search box where you can type in the title of the article or the name of the author. Type "Limiting the impact of light pollution on human health, environment and stellar visibility" into this box.

    use database search functions

  9. That search found the full-text of the article. Again notice that this database offers a pdf, a citation export option, related articles, and more. If you wish to alter your search or look for related materials, use the sidebar on the left to refine your results.

    article found

Check out some of our other tutorials: