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Access to HE and Foundation Programme: Finding Articles

A guide for all students studying Access or Foundation across any of our campuses.

Top Tip!

In Library Plus, Discover and in other databases, tick the option for 'full text only' results. This will show you only listings for articles to which we have a full subscription and be read immediately.

Finding electronic journals articles

As you transition to becoming a full degree student you will start to use and better understanding the value of journal articles.

To look for journal articles, use Library Plus (linked on the left).

Articles are extremely important for keeping up-to-date with the latest theory, research and practice in your subject area. You will be expected to use articles in your assignments. We provide online access to thousands of articles which you can search for through Library Plus. 

Journals fall into two main categories:

  • Academic journals: (eg International Journal of BioSciences, Alternative and Holistic Medicine) which contain higher level academic articles. These articles are based on research, case studies and theory. etc. Articles in academic journals are reviewed for accuracy by academic experts. (Sometimes referred to as peer reviewed). Subscriptions to these journals can range from £200 - £1000, but the Library subscribes to them for the whole University to use. Access to journals is through the E-Journals Finder database and you will find access to individual articles from them when you are searching Library Plus. We also hold some printed copies of academic journals in the Library. 
  • Trade magazines: (eg Spa Business) which are important for giving you an overview of the industry, current awareness and often contain job adverts. These are generally available as print copies, held in the Library. Sometimes they are also accompanied by free-to-access websites.

When you find articles in Library Plus, in our databases, or on Google Scholar, you will usually see the following information:

  • Bibliographical details = The full publication details of the article which you need for your citation and referencing. These details include authors, date of publication, title of article, title of the journal it is from, volume and issue numbers, page numbers.
  • Abstract = a short summary of the article giving the key findings and conclusions. Usually no longer than a paragraph.
  • Links to 'Full-Text' = the link to open the full article, available either to be read online or to be downloaded, saved and/or printed. The full article can run to many pages (usually between 15 and 30), so it is better to save copies of articles as you find them. These usually save to your computer in PDF format.

What if there is no full-text link?

We subscribe to thousands of journals and professional/trade magazines. This means that our databases contain millions of articles. However, no University subscribes to every single journal. Our databases are comprehensive though, and therefore contain the abstracts for thousands more articles to which we do not have a subscription. Access to the abstracts for these articles enables you to identify the breadth of academic and professional literature available on a particular topic and make reference to it in your research. This is particular useful when carrying out a literature review, as you can identify your knowledge of existing work within an area, even if you are unable to read it in full.

Requesting copies of articles to which we do not subscribe

Second and third year undergraduates, postgraduates and researches, are able to request articles to which we do not subscribe from the British Library through our Inter-Library Loans service. More details on the service, and the online form to request a loan cna be found here. Please note that this is a chargeable service.

You can use Library Plus to search across a range of databases at once - the vast majority of our journal databases are searched by our Library Plus system. Use the search box below, or the link in the Quick Links box on the left-hand side.

You can search by keyword, author or title and then filter your results by date range, source type (i.e. journal articles, news report, magazine etc), subject or topic, geographical location, publication etc.

The databases searched by Library Plus include some that are indexes or abstract-only - this means you will only get a brief summary of the article, not the full text of the article itself. You can narrow down your search results to just display Full Text results only.

Library Plus
Limit Your Results

Google Scholar is a free search engine that searches across a range of academic material including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports. If the article has been cited by others, a 'cited by' link will be part of the record. Clicking on that link will take you to the list of articles that cited the item in question.

Google Scholar can be a useful research tool, but it is important to bear several things in mind:

  • Not all material will necessarily be peer-reviewed. There is no editorial process within Google Scholar, so you need to be careful what you rely upon.
  • Some articles may not appear as they do in the final published work. Preprints and drafts are all indexed by Google Scholar as well as open-access final articles.
  • Coverage is primarily medical, scientific, and technical.
  • Coverage is primarily in the English language.

You can customise Google Scholar to search the University of Derby's own e-resources as well as the internet. If you go to the main Google Scholar homepage and click on the 'Settings' link in the top right-hand corner, you will see there is a link on the left-hand column called 'Library Links'. Type in 'University of Derby' and this will connect with our own Electronics Journal A-Z database. When you subsequently perform searches you will have an option to 'check our e-journals a-z' to check what coverage we have within our own electronic resource holdngs.

If you already have a reference to an article and are looking for a specific electronic journal, use the E-Journals Finder (listed on the left in Quick Links)

1. Type the title of the journal, not the article title, into the search box.

2. This will search our collection of electronic journals for all titles which include your search terms, and give you information about which database the journal is hosted on. You may find that some journals are hosted on multiple different databases, often with different years of coverage.


3. Click on one of the link below the journal title. Make this decision based upon which years of the journal you need to access. This will take you to that journal's page on that database. You will then need to navigate to the year, and then volume and issue number for the article in question.

NOTE: Many of the databases have different search mechanisms and interfaces, so one may work differently to another. You will become familiar with these the more you use them. If you get stuck or confused at any point, get in touch with your academic librarian.

A small number of journals are only available as print copies, held in the Library. You can use the Library Catalogue (linked under the Quick Links on the left) to search for print journals.

The Library catalogue will give you details of how far back the subscription goes and where the journal is located (see example below).


The latest issues of print journals can be found on the shelves in the journals corridor. Back issues can be found on the shelves at the back of the main Library room.

Remember: You can only search for journal titles (i.e. International Journal of Hospitality Management) in the Library Catalogue. Individual articles are found by searching Library Plus or a database.