Skip to Main Content

Journals: how to find and use journal articles: How to find articles on a topic

What are journal articles? Where can you find journals online and in the Library? How can you find a known article or articles on a topic?

How to find journal articles on a topic

When you are researching an assignment or working on an extended piece or research such as a dissertation, you may often find that you need to find articles on a topic or subject. In this situation you don't have the references to specific articles, rather you want to know what has been published on a topic and then read these articles.

You can do a quick search for articles on a topic using SUPrimo's 'Articles + Databases' tab.

However, for more in-depth and comprehensive searching you will need to use subject databases - particularly abstracting and indexing databases. These databases enable you search across a huge number of journal titles at the same time and often provide links to full text articles. Alternatively, you can use the bibliographic information to find the articles on other electronic resources or in the Andersonian Library (or other libraries).

Using SUPrimo Articles and Papers search to find journal articles by topic

One way of finding journal articles on a particular topic is to use SUPrimo's 'Articles and paers' search and search using keywords associated with the topic.

(N.B. This search does not cover all journals that you can access online or in the Andersonian Library, but it is a quick way of finding articles which are covered by this search.)


If you have a particular topic for an assignment e.g.:

Effective marketing of craft beer in Europe.

1. Go to SUPrimo:

2. Select the 'Articles and papers' search and enter keywords associated with the topic:

articles and papers search for marketing craft beer

3. Select the search button.

4. A list of results is displayed. If you have a lot of results, you can refine these in the column to the left of the results.

5. Look for relevant articles in results:

SUPrimo record for 'canned beer apocalypse now' article

6. Select 'Full text available'. You then see a list of services where to can access the article:

Online access options for the article (part of the SUPrimo record)

7. Follow the link to your preferred service and log in, if required. You may go straight to the article or you may go to the journal home page depending on the particular journal and the service you have chosen. (If you are taken to the journal home page, you will usually have the option to either search or browse for your article.)

8. Once you have found the article, you can read it online or choose from print download or email options.

Article as displayed on a database (in PDF format)

Using databases to find journal articles by topic

Database services enable you to search across and access a huge range of sources including journal articles, book reviews, research reports, policy documents, case studies, legislation and many more types of document.

Database services can be general in coverage or very subject specific. Some services are comprised of many individual databases, which can be searched separately or cross-searched simultaneously. As well as easy to use basic search options, you can use powerful advanced search options in some databases to retrieve relevant documents. Databases also offer options to sort and refine results (e.g. by publication date, whether peer-reviewed, type of document, etc.) or search within results.

By using database services subscribed to by the University you will be able to search more effectively and retrieve materials you might miss otherwise if using general internet search engines.

Database services can be:

  • Abstracting databases provide comprehensive indexes to journal articles, books, book chapters and reports. Use references found on these databases to locate full-text documents or use the 'Find it @ Strathclyde' (Find it @Strathclyde) button to check for electronic and print availability.
  • Full text databases provide access to the full text of documents.
  • Hybrid services combine abstracts with full-text documents where available.

How to find the best databases for your research

If you know the general subject area of your research but don’t know which databases are available, then you can look at the relevant subject guide. Subject guides give you a list of key databases in your area:

Alternatively, you can view an A-Z list of databases available to you and select from this:

If you know the name of the database you can search for this using SUPrimo. Simply enter the the name in the search box (using the 'Library Collections' tab) and select search. You can then follow links to the database from the results record:

Learn more about using databases in your literature searches...

To find out more about how to plan and undertake literature searches using databases and other search tools take a look at the Literature Searching guide:

Contact us                                Electronic Library Services                              Library Home