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Research 101 - Finding Articles: Introduction to Articles

Get the basics on articles & databases!

Person w/ hands raised & question mark above headWhen & Why Should I Look for Articles?

Searching for both books and articles is a good strategy for locating information on a topic.

Read about the Information Cycle (from TRU Libraries).The information cycle will show you where articles fit into the grand scheme of things!

Image courtesy of CLIP Tutorial. Retrieved from May 2015.

Consider these 3 reasons. Click on each to learn more!

  • The latest research on a topic (scholarly articles)
  • The latest information on a recent event (news articles)
  • Information on a topic that is not large or in-depth enough to be the focus of an entire book.
  • Articles are the best source for the most current research, since they are published more frequently than books.
  • Some topics are better suited to an article than a book.
  • Professors often require articles for your research projects and papers.
  • Articles take less time to be published, for example, than books, so the most current information available on a topic might best be found in an article.

Popular & scholarly journals

Not all Articles are the Same

Not all kinds of articles are the same, because not all kinds of periodicals in which they are published are the same.

There are basically 4 kinds of articles, based on the 4 kinds of publications in which articles can appear.

Articles can appear in any of these 4 kinds of publications:

  1. Newspapers & News Sites - for news on current events or retrospectively to view news from certain time periods
  2. Popular Magazines & Magazine Sites - for opinions & some references to research studies
  3. Trade Journals - for trends, issues, & news affecting certain trades & industries
  4. Scholarly Journals - for quality research (more on this later!)

In addition to what we call articles, you may also find on the web posts, blog entries, pages in social media like Facebook, scholarly research papers, & other sources of information.

The Key is a 3-Point Strategy:

  1. Know how to identify & evaluate each kind of information source you find
  2. Consult multiple sources
  3. Double-check your sources

Image courtesy of CLIP Tutorial. Retrieved from May 2015.

Where to Go for Articles


Most articles are not free online.

Articles are printed in newspapers, magazines, & journals. Those printed publications are often available in libraries such as ODU Library.

The Solution: The Library's Databases--databases to which the Library has subscriptions so that ODU students, faculty, & staff can have access. That's where you will find the articles. And you can focus on whatever kinds of articles you need.

Go to the library's databases for any of the following:

  • Newspaper articles
  • Magazine & trade publication articles
  • Scholarly articles

TIP: You typically won't be able get these with a search engine--not even Google! And no AI.

Take the Challenge!

Where are you most likely to find the latest research on the topic of the impact of neurobics on memory? Choose from below & see if you are right!

Sorry--Wrong Answer! A book published in this year may still have taken 1-3 years to get published. It may be very useful, but it still means 1-3 years older than the latest information


Since articles typically take less time to be published than books, an article from this year may have more up-do-date research.

Correct! The most recent research on any topic is found in articles. Researchers will write an article about their topic, and then submit it for publication in a journal; journals are published more frequently than books.