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How do I Research?: Finding Articles

A guide to conducting research for OCAD U coursework and beyond

FInding Articles

 There is no "right" or "wrong" way to find articles, but there are two basic strategies using the OCAD U Library for finding journal articles the:

  1. Google "I Feel Lucky" approach
  2. "Less is More" approach

Both are completely legitimate; but do think about your research needs, the assignment requirements, and which approach makes most sense to you. 

1. Google "I Feel Lucky" Approach

I want to search EVERYTHING because:

  • I want to find inter-disciplinary articles and make unexpected discoveries from diverse academic subjects areas
  • if I search MORE articles, I will have a better chance of finding a useful article
  • more search results means more choice (or More is More!)

1.1 "I Feel Lucky": Using Summon Search

Summon is a comprehensive search tool that will allow you to search most of our library collections at once, including print books, ebooks, journals, magazines, images, videos.  Like Google, it offers one easy-to-use search box available as the default search on the OCAD U Library homepage: www.ocadu.ca/library

Unlike Google, once you start finding results, you can limit by:

  • TYPE of information including:
    • Full Text Online
    • Scholarly & Peer-Review (which includes professional art of design trade journals)
    • Peer-Review (only)
    • Library Catalogue (items which are primarily print books or videos in the physical library collection)
  • CONTENT TYPE of information including:
    • Journal Article
    • Magazine Article
    • Book / eBook
    • Streamed Video
    • and many more...
  • PUBLICATION DATE:
    • using the toggle-bar graph provided
  • DISCIPLINE or subject-area of the article; this is an exciting way of finding very unexpected interdisciplinary results from journals in
    •  visual arts
    • history & archaeology
    • languages & literatures
    • journalism & communications
    • and dozens of other academic subject areas...

2. "Less is More" Approach

I want to only search SMALLER subject-specific collections because:

  • I want to find articles written by the foremost authors in my field of inquiry:
    • for example: in researching for a visual analysis assignment: I only want to search for articles written by art critics, curators, or art historians)
  • I only want to find one or two of best articles written on my topic
  • I know that subject-specific collections will better understand the vocabularies of my subject area
    • for example: in an art database, I can search terms like "installation" or "process" or "medium" and it will retrieve results based on "sculpture and installation" or "process-based knowledge," or "artistic medium"
  • I want a more carefully curated set of results (or Less is More!)

2.1 "Less is More": Using Subject-Specific Databases

To access our numerous "subject-specific" article databases:

  1. Select the "Databases A - Z " tab from the library homepage
  2. For best results, then select "More Search Options"
  3. Limit to "Journal Article" databases; select databases from the list OR
  4. Use drop-down "Subject" list to limit further by subject; oftentimes the "Best Bet!" databases are highlighted for you.  For example, view the results for:

What is Peer-Review?

Peer-review is similar to art critiques (crits) used in studio-based learning.  Before any work of art or design is completed, it is evaluated by one’s peers in the studio.  Similarly, before an article is published, it must be read and approved by a board of scholars who decide whether it is should be included in a scholarly journal or whether changes are needed before it is published. 

TYPE of information; peer-reviewed articles, essays, or research papers:

  • are published in ACADEMIC journals
  • include AUTHORITATIVE bibliography and detailed footnotes or endnotes.
  • advance scholarship or critical dialogue in a field of study for academic audience
  • use scientific methodologies or theories to shape research findings

AUTHORS of  peer-reviewed articles, essays, or research papers are:

  • ACADEMIC researchers and scholars
  • the advisory board (which contributes to the ACADEMIC content of the publication)
  • the publisher which can include universities, academic organizations, or scholarly presses (which contribute to the AUTHORITY of the peer-reviewed article)