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English: Finding Articles

A research guide for English from West Chester University Libraries.

Specialized databases

Interdisciplinary options-- These options include sources from many different disciplines. 

Library Search 

Library Search cross searches a huge amount of our library content. 

Historical Context

Some literature research projects also require sources on the historical context either presented in a particular work or on the historical context of the period when the work was written.  Here are your best bets.

1) Start with books, especially if you are looking for a broad overview of some aspect of a historical period (politics, race, gender, class, etc.).  You can begin by searching our catalog through the Library Search tool.

If you don't find anything, double check for sources we don't have by searching Google books or Amazon.  we can get them through interlibrary loan.

2) If you are looking for something more specific, journal articles are the way to go.  We have two main databases for these:

For the topics of English Education, Composition, and ESL, the MLA International Bibliography has some materials, but is far from comprehensive.  See the list of databases below for other ideas of where to research topics in those areas.

Core database: 

For databases related to creative writing, please see our separate guide dedicated to the topic.

I love  Library Search for film. It does a great job of pulling together articles that you otherwise would need to search 5-10 databases to find. You may want to remove newspaper and magazine articles from your search results, otherwise they can overwhelm your results.

Articles written about Journalism

We do not have any databases that focus on articles about journalism, so Library Search is your best bet for this type of research.

Finding newspaper and magazine articles

You can search  Library Search for these as well, but we also have a ton of specialized databases that include both modern and historical newspaper and magazine articles.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan

Spring 2020 update:  As of March 20, the ILLiad system is still operating, but please expect a longer wait for delivery of articles.  It is also likely there will be more instances in which requests are unable to be filled at all.

When searching the library's databases or OneSearch, you may find articles you want that we do not have access to.  You can get them for free through a service called interlibrary loan, and it usually only takes one or two days. 

From a database, like the MLA International Bibliography:

1.  Instead of a link to a PDF below the article, you will see a link called check availability.

2.  If we have the full text,the page that opens will provide a link under the "View It" heading. 

3.  If we don't own the full text, you can access our interlibrary loan system for articles, called ILLiad, by logging into the system using your WCU email address and password.  Look for the link on the yellow bar in the middle of the page.

4. Once you log in, you will see the link to go to ILLiad.

5. To use ILLiad for the first time, click on the link for first time users and set up an account

6. Go back to the the database window and click the link to interlibrary loan again.  Now that you are logged in, it will fill in the blanks on the request screen for you!  Hit submit and wait for an email saying your article has arrived.


From Library Search:

1) The default in Library search is to show articles that we DO own.  To see materials we don't own, look at the top of the left-hand column for the option "Expand Results Beyond My Library". 

2) Once you do that, you will see articles marked "No Full Text".  Click on that link, then follow the process described above for databases.

Google Scholar

Beyond the library's databases, you can also try Google Scholar to find scholarly articles.  Because the Google search algorithms work differently than databases, you may find different results than when searching in online databases, even with similar search terms.

Before searching Google Scholar, click on the settings cog and look for the 'library links' option on the left.  Search for West Chester University, then click on the box next to the result that says West Chester University Libraries-- Find-It @WCU, and hit save.  By doing this, you are tying into our library's system that will show you if we have access to particular articles, either online or in our print collection.  After you have done this, some of your search results (articles, but not books) will have a link by them that says either Find-It @ WCU or Check Availability @ WCU, that you can click on to access the system.  Some books will have a Library Search link that takes you into Google Books and allows you to see if WCU carries that title.

Also, remember to try Google Scholar's Advanced Search screen.  This allows you some of the search features that appear in databases and can help you to make your results more precise.


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