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EESD19 Professional Development Seminars in Geoscience

Scholarly articles - the basics

Scholarly journals are where academics present their research and debate on discipline-specific issues occur.  As a student, you are now a member of the academic community and expected to engage with this literature.

Remember journal articles are extremely specific.  If you don't know much about a subject area it might be best to start with your course textbook and other books.  These will give you a broad overview of your topic and help you come up with keywords and ideas to more quickly find useful articles.  

As well, if you're studying an extremely recent event, you may not be able to find anything directly related in the scholarly literature because it takes some time for scholars to write about it. In this case, try researching related ideas instead. 

Getting Fulltext

When searching for articles in research databases, look for the getit! button* to link to the article's FREE full-text online. 

If we don't have an electronic copy of the article, it will also let you look for print versions of the article, or request it via Interlibrary Loan.  

If there is no "Get it!" link, or you experience problems, simply search for the journal in the U of T Library Catalogue.  When full-text is not readily available online, make sure you use the title of the journal (not the article title or author).

*Different databases have different full-text buttons so you might want to  also look for buttons labeled full-text or PDF.

Using library research databases

You can search for individual e-journals using the library catalogue however today's online environment has made it possible to efficiently search across numerous journals, sometimes thousands, to find articles published in them that are relevant to a particular project or assignment topic. 

This means that rather than just searching one journal (for example, the Journal of Environmental Quality or the Journal of Chemical Education) you can use a research database to search across many journals that publish articles about environmental science issues. 

If you're not sure which database to search, try starting with the ones listed on this page. There are also tons of other databases grouped based on subject areas on the library's Subjects A-Z site.  There is also a listing of popular databases.

Screenshot of UTSC Library homepage with location of links to databases highlighted

Not sure what discipline would cover about your topic?  Try multidisciplinary databases.

Tip:  No database has everything! It's highly recommended that you try a couple databases. If you're having trouble with your search, review this guides or ask your librarian, instructor or TA for help.

Searching for articles

Search for an article by citation using the Article Finder (this link can also be found on the library homepage).

A selection of individual databases that could be of assistance with your assignment is listed below.

Scopus Help

GeoRef & GeoBASE Search Tips (Engineering Village Interface)

For additional Engineering Village search tips and features, check out their YouTube Channel