Keep your topics simple.
Use the "Advanced Search" feature of the database.
Not finding what you are looking for?
Are you looking for a primary research journal article? If so, that is an article that reports on the details and results of an original research study conducted by the authors themselves.
You can use the library's databases to search for primary research articles. A research article will almost always be published in a peer-reviewed journal; click here for instructions on limiting your searches to peer-reviewed articles (which is often where primary sources are found).
Articles that are NOT primary research articles may discuss research studies, but they are not reporting on the authors' original research, they are summarizing and commenting on research conducted and published by someone else. These would be considered secondary sources.
A review article is a secondary source. It is written about other articles and does not report original research of its own. Review articles are very important, as they draw upon the articles that they review to suggest new research directions, to strengthen support for existing theories and/or identify patterns among existing research studies.
Example of a primary research article found in the Library's Academic Search Complete database: (these authors conducted an original research study)
Example of a secondary article found in the Library's Academic Search Complete database: (these authors are reviewing the work of other authors)
The image below is of the first and last pages of a scholarly article. Notice the sections for abstract, introduction, conclusion, and references. Scholarly/Research articles may also contain sections titled literature review, materials, methods, results, discussion, etc.
As you search for articles in the library databases the main component to look for is that the authors did original research on a topic. You will want to ignore any items that appear to be news updates, magazine articles, review articles, editorials, book reviews, etc.
Click the red tab above (Advanced Search-Databases) to learn how you can limit your database search to peer reviewed articles, narrow the dates of your search, and limit to full text articles.
Image from from NCSU Libraries' Anatomy of a Scholarly Article