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HD FS 479: Family Interaction Dynamics

Subject Specific Resources

Other Helpful Indexes

Does the library offer access to the journal you want?

How do you know if the ISU library has the specific article you want to see? When you use an index like PsycINFO, you are searching a database of several hundred journals in that subject area, regardless of whether our library provides access to a particular journal.

Today, most indexes provide full text to many of the articles they index within the database itself. If you are in a database and it indicates that it provides the article full text, then you click on it and you'll have the article in front of you. If the index itself does not provide the full text, you will see a button like this: Check SFX for full text availability. If you click on that, our system will check to see if we have it online through any other database. If we do, it should bring up the article you want.

What to do if Get it @ISU only leads you to the page for the database?

  • See if the article has a DOI. DOI stands for digital object identifier. For example, the DOI for the DOI handbook is doi:10.1000/182 but can also be written as Look for the DOI in the information about the article and click on it and if Iowa State has the article in any of the databases it will find and redirect you to where you can view and download the article

  • If the article does not have a DOI, then search for the article in the database it is located in. Copy the title of the article and search for the title with quotation marks around it, it will look like "Title of article" Using quotation marks means that only the exact words within the quotation marks will be searched for. This way you should be able to find the exact article. 

What to do if Get it @ISU is not an option?

Still can't get ahold of the article?

You can request a copy of the article through Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery. Typically you will have the PDF of the article emailed to you within a day or two, however, in some cases you can receive it as quickly as a few hours.

More help with finding empirical research

Search Tips

Choosing your search terms:

There are synonyms for what you are trying to write about or related subjects that you can use to base your research on. If there aren’t then your topic is very likely too new and too obscure for a term paper for a course so definitely ask your professor. Some databases such as PsycINFO include a thesaurus tool.

Choosing your parameters:

Your instructor probably gave you some specific instructions to follow such as articles must be published in peer-reviewed journals published in the past five years.


I usually tell students to start with PSYCINFO because it is a database specifically focused on psychology and related behavioral science fields. This means you don’t have to sort through as much random stuff if you are specifically looking for psychology related topics. On the other hand, depending on how interdisciplinary your topic is it might mean you miss out on some resources that would help your project.

Advanced search:

Topic in choose field Anywhere

Limit to: “peer-reviewed”

Searching specific journals: look up the journal and click the option that has the most entries OR pub.Exact(“Journal title” OR “Second journal title”) AND

You can also add line after line of ISSN’s

Truncation is with a * and there’s a more complicated way to truncate too.

Library Quick Search

In the library catalog advanced search you have a variety of options to choose from such as searching for your terms by title and you can limit to where you search as well such as searching only certain journals by inputting their ISSN. You can also limit your search to peer reviewed journals. The library catalog likes to give results so you might have results that are only kind of or barely relevant and you need to tweak your search  to make sure you actually have enough content.

Overall tips:

  • Don’t worry about Full Text, it might be in another database or worse case scenario a few hours to a few days away via interlibrary loan
  • Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT are your friends as is truncation, which is usually with a * but check the database you are using.

Your librarian

Anita Kay's picture
Anita Kay
150 Parks Library