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GEW 101B: Writing as a Rhetorical Act

Finding Scholarly Articles: Video

For your GEW research paper, you will be required to find and use some scholarly journal articles to support your argument. Complete the GEW Database Tutorial to learn how to combine key terms, search in Academic Search Premier, and download the full text of articles. 

Complete the GEW Database Tutorial (this will open in a new window)

Finding Scholarly Articles: Step-by-step Instruction

A screenshot of the CSUSM University Library homepage


  • Click on Most Popular

A screenshot of the library homepage with a red box around Databases: Most popular


  • Click on the first database, Academic Search Premier.

A screenshot the list of the most popular Databases.


  • If you are off-campus you will be asked to login.

A screenshot of the Sign-In For Off-Campus screen.  Username and Password must be inputted.

Getting to Advanced Search

  • You will be taken to Academic Search Premier.  Click on Advanced Search to be taken to a screen where you can easily combine keywords.

A screenshot of Academic Search Premier with a red box around the Advanced Search Link.


  • You are now at the Advanced Search Page.  

A screenshot of the Advanced Search Page in Academic Search Premier.

Combining Keywords in Advanced Search

  • This is where you will combine different keywords. Don’t get frustrated if your first search doesn’t work. Be willing to try different combinations of words.

  • To demonstrate how this works let’s pretend you are doing research on whether energy drinks help college students do better in school.  We’ll start by searching for newspapers and magazine articles since it is helpful to understand your topic by doing background research first.

  • Let’s first start with a single keyword. How many results do you get when you search for: 

    • Energy drinks

A screenshot of the Advanced Search Screen in Academic Search Premier with keyword in first box.


  • That’s a lot of results. 5,486! And a whole bunch of them aren’t useful to us. 

A screenshot of the Advanced Search Screen results page with 5486 results.


  • Now let’s try adding a second concept so that we can narrow down the results that we get.  Add in the concept college students to see how many results you get.  It’s down to 214.

A screenshot of the Advanced Search with two search terms combined and 214 results.


  • You can see that combining two terms (college students AND energy drinks) returns fewer results than if you only search one term.

Narrowing Results to Magazines & Newspapers

  • Now let’s try to narrow the number of results even more to only Magazines and Newspapers. (Look at the arrows below for how to do this).

A screenshot showing narrowing by Magazines and Newspapers.


  • As shown in the image below this narrows down your results to 25 magazines and newspapers. Look at how quickly we were able to get down to only 25! We started with X number of results, and very quickly narrowed down our results to ones that were more relevant to our needs. This is how you can become a more strategic and efficient searcher. 

  • Note that this icon  A screenshot of what the periodical icon looks like in Academic Search Premier.means it is a magazine article and this icon  A screenshot of what the Newspapers icon looks like in Academic Search Premier.  means it is a newspaper article.

A screenshot of limiting by Source Type of Magazines and Newspapers.

Narrowing Results to Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journal Articles

  • Once you feel like you have an adequate amount of background research and are armed with an understanding of your topic and a list of keywords you can use in your searches you can move on to look for Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journal Articles.

    • To do this, click on New Search.

A screenshot limiting to Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles.


  • This will take you back to Advanced Search where you can enter your keywords again.  To search exclusively for Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journal articles you can click on the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals box, shown with the arrow above.

A screenshot of the results of a search for the a combination of two keyword terms.

Opening or Downloading a Full-Text Article

  • Next we’ll discuss how to access an article in full once you found one that you would like to read.

    • There are different links that you may encounter in our databases which allow you to read the article in full, such as Get it! at CSUSM, PDF Full Text, and HTML Full Text.

    • To demonstrate this, a search for an article is shown in the image below. 

    • Arrows on the image point out two of the possible links you might encounter: Get it! at CSUSM and PDF Full Text 

Image results list with arrows pointing to HTML Full Text, PDF Full text and Get it! at CSUSM


  • If your article shows a Get it! at CSUSM link follow these steps below. If you need PDF Full Text directions scroll down to the next step.

    • From the article entry OR from the list of article results: Click on the Get it! at CSUSM link. Note: This is a three click process. 

Academic Search Premier title showing arrow pointing to Get it! at CSUSM icon at title level


  • You will now be directed to the CSUSM library catalog.

    • Our system works to locate a database that will provide you access to a full text copy of your article (example shown in image below).  

    • Note: occasionally there is NO FULL TEXT available. If so, you can request the full text article via Interlibrary Loan.

    • You will see "Full Text Available at:” besides the databases that provide full text to the articles.

    • Make your second click on the database link provided. You will be taken to an article entry in the named database. 

Result after clicking on the Get it! at CSUSM, shows link to a database that offers the article.


  • From the named database article entry, locate a PDF Full text icon. Click three is on the PDF icon to download a copy of the article in full text. Congratulations, you now have the full text of your desired article.

Image shows Academic Search Premier result for article and shows where to click to obtain full text.


  • If your article shows a PDF Full Text link follow the steps below. 

    • From the article entry OR from the list of article results: Click on the PDF Full Text link. This will download a PDF full text copy of the article for your use.

Image shows article result with the icon to get full text. Shows where to click to get article


  • A second method of obtaining the Full text of the PDF is to click on the title of the article.  You will see the PDF Full Text link on the left-hand side.  

Image shows article entry with PDF Full text link, arrow points to link on left hand side of screen


  • Now it’s your turn.  Using your own keywords this time, follow the steps listed in this guide to find materials on your GEW topic.