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ENC 1101 - Professor Siler: Finding Articles

Finding Articles

What is a periodical article?

A periodical is a newspaper, magazine, journal... or anything that comes out "periodically" - weekly, monthly, bi-annually. The PSC Library has many periodicals.  Some are in "print" on the shelves and others (many others) are available electronically through the database - anytime/anywhere.

What Databases does PSC have?

PSC subscribes to many databases. Some are good for finding periodical articles, some are good for finding statistics, some are good for finding information on specific subjects (science, art, business).

Here is a list of some databases you might consider using:

  • Academic Search Complete
    Full-text periodical (newspapers, magazines, & journals) resource containing information from a wide range of academic areas including business, social sciences, humanities, general academic, general science and education.
  • Academic OneFile 
    A one-stop source for news and periodical articles on a wide range of topics: business, computers, current events, economics, education, environmental issues, health care, hobbies, humanities, law, literature and art, politics, science, social science, sports, technology, and many general interest topics. Millions of full-text articles, many with images. Updated daily.
  • Nexis Uni 
    Full-text access to a wide range of periodical resources,primarily news, business, legal, and reference information. Medical & health; federal, state & international legal materials; corporate news & financial information, and more.

How Does Searching Work?

All the databases work a little bit differently, but basically, once you are connected you will get a screen that has 1-3 text boxes where you can enter whatever it is you are looking for.  It's very similar to searching the Internet using a search engine like Google except you are searching a specific database for specific types of information (newspaper articles, journals, statistics).  Academic Search Complete is a database for periodicals - newspaper, magazine & journal articles.Here is an example of Academic Search Compete search screen

Image of Academic Search Complete Search


The full Text box has been checked and the drop down menu next to the search term -- nutrition -- was changed to subject.  Both of these options limit the number of articles. You should receive a list of articles that match your search terms. 

The full-text articles will have a link and/or a pdf icon that says "full-text".  If you click on the link (or icon), the entire article will be there for you to read.  You can print, email, and save articles.

Search Terms

Example research question: Is Artificial Intelligence Going to Replace Doctors?

Remember, we don't want to search for the full question in the databases. Make sure to pull out the keywords from the research question: Artificial Intelligence (which should be searched as a phrase), Replace, Doctors.

While searching for articles, it will be most beneficial to utilize Boolean operators. These are words and punctuation that help to expand and refine your search.

  • In the first search line, try using the phrase "artificial intelligence"
    • Make sure this term is in quotation marks. If you want to search a phrase together, you put it into quotation marks. Otherwise, the database may search for the words artificial AND intelligence separately throughout articles.
  • In the next line, use the Boolean operator AND
    • (In most databases, there is a drop down menu that will allow you to select AND, OR, NOT but you can also type these words into a search bar if a menu is unavailable.)
      • AND will include all terms listed in the search bars.
    • Try using the search term replac*.
      • The asterisk (*) is a wildcard operator. It will search multiple endings to go with the portion of the word you enter. Here you may find replace, replaced, replaces, replacing, replacement, replacements.
      • It's a way to search similar terms in one shot instead of having to search them individually.
  • In the last line, also use the Boolean operator AND
    • Try using the search term doctor* so that you can search for doctor and doctors at the same time.
    • Sometimes adding an extra term can refine your search too much. Feel free to add and remove search terms as needed.
  • Make sure to select the box for Full Text before you hit search.

At this point, you can continue to refine your search by selecting peer reviewed articles and by limiting publication dates to the last five or ten years.

Accessing the Polk State College Library Databases

To access the Library's databases, start at the Library's homepage (

From there, select the link for Articles/Databases

Image of Library/TLCC Homepage

The list of all PSC databases will appear--arranged alphabetically. You can also view the databases arranged by subject area by selecting the "Subjects" dropdown near the top. 

Polk State Library A-Z List of Databases

After selecting a specific database, you will be prompted to sign in.

Students: Use your Passport information - Student ID number and Password (default: two-digit month and two-digit year of your birth).

Staff/Faculty: Use your Polk email address and password 

If you are having difficulty signing in with your Passport credentials, try clearing the cookies/cache in your browser OR try using a different browser (Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox, etc...). This will fix the problem about 90% of the time. 

Sample Searches & Finding the Citation Generators

Use the four links below to open a step-by-step visual guide to searching in one of our four most popular databases.

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