USF Shimberg Health Sciences Library

How-To Guides & Tutorials

How do I find a journal article on my topic?

1. Decide on the subject for which you want to locate articles.

The more specific the topic is, the more relevant the results you will retrieve. For example, search the phrase low back pain not just pain.

2. Choose a Database appropriate for your subject.

PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Web of Science are all databases containing medical, nursing, and public health article citations.

To select the best database for your discipline, consult your discipline-specific guides for the appropriate area.

If you are uncertain how to choose the best database, make an appointment with one of the USF Health Libraries Reference Librarians.

3. Search the Database for articles on your subject.

For database-specific tips on how to use a particular database, look for help within the database or consult the Resource Tutorials.

Some databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed articles. 

Review the article abstracts to determine if the article is appropriate to answer your research question.

4. Retrieve the full-text for articles that look promising

Some databases may already have a link to the full text of the article you require. Look for a full text, PDF, or HTML link to view the full copy of the article online. If none of these are available, click on the Find It At USF to check the USF Libraries collection.

5. If you are unable to find the full-text in the USF Libraries Collection, request an Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad). 

Plan ahead! It may take up to a week to 10 days to obtain the article through Interlibrary Loan.

How to Find the Full-Text (PDF) of an Article

If the journal article you are looking for is in print, you will find journals shelved alphabetically on the 2nd floor of the library.  

If the journal article is online, follow these steps:

  1. Search for the journal title in the Library Catalog 
  2. Check the USF EJournal collection to browse by title or discipline
  3. If the journal article is not available, request the specific article through ILLiad, the USF Libraries interlibrary loan tool.

If you need further assistance call USF Health Libraries Access Services at (813) 974-8432 or make an appointment to consult with a Research & Education Librarian. 

How to Find the Full-Text (PDF) of an Article: Tutorial