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Find Articles

Learn to search for articles that are suitable for class research assignments.

Search for Articles

Using a general (multidisciplinary) article database that covers many topics is an efficient way to search through articles from thousands of journals, magazines, and newspapers all at once. Any of the databases below are excellent starting points for finding articles on most any topic.

Journal Article Basics


If you're not sure what a journal article is, visit our Journal Article Basics page. 

Basic Search Tips

Search EffectivelyUnlike Google, library databases can't understand an entire sentence. You will need to break your topic down into the most important ideas - the KEYWORDS.

Example Topic: 

  • Find information about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.


  • internment  |  Japanese Americans  |  WWII

Remember! When searching databases, you only need to include the most essential keywords in the database search box. Connect the keywords with AND.

Search box the the phrase: internment AND Japanese Americans AND WWII

BrainstormMost words have synonyms that mean the same, or very similar, things. For each keyword in your topic, try to come up with at least one synonym or another very similar keyword. Not all keywords will have synonyms, but many do!

Example 1: 

Keyword: internment

Possible synonym(s): relocation camp, incarceration, imprisonment

Example 2:

Keyword: WWII

Possible synonyms: World War II, world war 2, world war two, second world war

Keep an Eye Out!

Sometimes scholars use terms that you might not be familiar with, or which might mean something very specific within the discipline. While searching, look for unfamiliar terms or words that show up a lot. Try searching for those and see if you find more relevant sources.

FocusMost library databases have search tools built in.

Try some of these:

  • Subject: 
    Think of subjects as official hashtags. Use them to find sources about that subject.
  • Date Range: 
    Limit your search to sources published between specific years.
  • Peer Reviewed: 
    Limit your search to scholarly journal articles.
  • Full Text: 
    Make sure all of the results are available to read in full.

Look on the left and right of your search results, or for an "advanced search" page to find these tools - and more!

Advanced Search Tips

Venn Diagram: internment AND WWII


Use the operator AND to find only sources that mention your keywords:

  • internment AND WWII

Add Keywords

Add more keywords in order to focus the results even more:

  • internment AND WWII AND Japanese Americans

Venn Diagram: WWII OR World War IIUse OR

Use the OR operator to expand your search with additional keywords:

  • WWII OR World War II

This will find sources that include either word, so you'll see more results than by searching for just one keyword.

Combine OR and AND

A great way to use OR, is to combine it with AND. So, to expand your search results, you could try this:

  • internment AND (WW II OR World War II

When you do this, put parentheses around the keywords connected with OR. Now you will have a list of results that all mention internment, and either WWII or World War II.

Choices IconIf your search results are not what you expect, there are several options you can try.

Use Quotation Marks

If your results don't seem to match up with your keywords, try putting quote marks around exact phrases. This will bring back results that only use that exact phrase.

internment AND "World War II" AND "Japanese Americans"

Check Your Spelling

It's always a good idea to make sure that your search terms are spelled correctly. You may also need to try using a different form of a word

Ask a Librarian!

Sometimes you just need to ask for help. Some research topics are more tricky than others and getting help from a librarian can save you a lot of time.


Online Access

Paw: Indicates that a password is needed to access the resource from off campus.The username and password to access databases is the same as what you use to log in to myPittCC and Moodle. The username is your entire myPittCC email address ( 

Community logins are available to Pitt County residents with PCC library cards and others who are enrolled in or are affiliated with PCC programs and continuing education courses. Scroll down and look for the "Community Login" section.