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ICEAPNS: Finding Articles

Your Guide to Cape Breton University Library


ar·ti·cle /ɑɚtɪkəl/ noun 

plural ar·ti·cles:

  • a piece of writing about a particular subject that is included in a journal, magazine, newspaper, etc.

  • a magazine/newspaper article I just read an interesting article on/about the city's early history. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals.


What are scholarly articles?

Your instructor may want you to use scholarly articles in your research. Why are they valued?

  1. Authoritative
  2. Reviewed by peers prior to publication
  3. Place where new research is revealed
  4. Published more frequently than books
  5. Can direct you to more information (i.e. bibliographies)
  6. Sources for illustrative examples to support research

What to look for:

  1. Authors' workplace (i.e. university where research took place)
  2. An abstract (summary)
  3. Bibliography and footnotes
  4. An introduction, methodology, and conclusion
    (in the Sciences especially)

Reading a scholarly article can be challenging for several reasons – not least of which is authors, experts in their fields of study, use professional language that can be overwhelming for undergraduates.


A search technique to apply to your database searching....


The library has many databases you can search to find articles for your assignments. Academic Search Ultimate is a good place to begin your search. (On-campus access only.)

Step One: 
Key in one or two significant words (keywords) into the search box.

Step Two:
Review the result list for an article useful to your research.

Step Three:
Examine the subjects which are assigned to the article to help us understand its content.

Step Four:
Select the subject(s) you think best represents your topic and create a new search strategy using those subject headings.


Turn your research topic into a search strategy


  1. Create a Research Statement
    This can be in the form of a question or a sentence.  Think about what you want to search and write it down in one sentence.
  2. Identify the Keywords
    Look at your research statement. What are the main words or concepts?  They will likely be nouns and can include phrases.  Highlight them.
  3. Think of Synonyms
    Look at the words/phrases you highlighted and think of synonyms or other phrases to describe those concepts. Scholarly articles often use words we don't use in ordinary life. You can consult a dictionary or a thesaurus for this purpose.
  4. Search the Databases 
    Pick two or three words/phrases from your list. Put each concept in it own search box.