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Guides & Tutorial, Pao-yue Kong Library, The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong

How to Search for Journal Articles: Home

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Serials Collection in PolyU Library

PolyU Library provides access to a sizeable serials collection, both in print and electronic formats. This collection is usually separated into several major groups:

Popular Magazines: covered short articles written by journalists, staff or freelance writers on current events, news, opinions and topics of general interests.

Professional or Trade Journals: usually written by staff writers or specialists of a particular business, industry or organization to update interested parties on the latest industry trends, new products or techniques, and organizational news.

Scholarly Journals: mostly authored by professors, researchers and students that focus on frontier research projects, theories, and methodologies. Part of the scholarly publications are considered to be peer-reviewed or referred if their articles go through a critique and approval processes by the subject experts.

To check whether the journal is scholarly or peer-reviewed after having found a journal article, you may consult Serials Directory or [Access: Library Home --> Find Resources --> Databases]

Search Tips

1. Describe Research Topic
Think of a question, a phrase or a sentence that includes all the important aspects (or concepts) of your topic:
e.g., “Problems faced by single-parent families of Hong Kong are …”, or, “The professional status of nurses in HK …”

2. Formulate the Search
Break up your search topic or theme into keywords, e.g.:
“What is the future of franchised stores in the Mainland?” --> keywords: “retail stores” “franchising” “china”
“What is the development of e-commerce?” --> keywords: “B2B”, “internet” & “web hosting”, etc.
In most databases, you can search simply by using keywords. For example, in ABI/Inform, you can enter a search statement like this: “development and internet and marketing”.

Search hints:

  1. Keep your search simple. Usually, you may work with only one keyword at a time, step-by-step, and then combine the searches later.
  2. Link up two or more keywords with the word “AND” in order to make your search more specific, e.g.:
    “pneumonia AND pulmonary AND acute”
  3. Link up keywords with “OR” in order to make your search more extensive, e.g.:
    “elderly OR aged OR senior OR old” “universities OR colleges”
  4. Make use of truncation so that words of the same stem can be included, e.g.:
    “comput*” will retrieve variations such as “computers”, “computerized”, “computation” etc.

3. Modify Search Strategy
Based on the results found, revise the keywords and search operators until a manageable result size is retrieved

Finding Journal Articles on OneSearch

STEP 1 - On Library homepage, type keyword(s) under Articles


STEP 2 - When the results are shown, choose Articles(under Resource Type) on the left panel of your results page.

Or choose Peer-reviewed Journals (under Show Only) to include results from only peer-reviewed journals.

Finding Journal Articles from a Subject Specific Database

OPTION 1: Databases by Subjects

STEP 1 - Select an appropriate database for your subject

In OneSearch search box on Library homepage , click Databases , then choose Browse Databases by Subject to select appropriate database for your topic, e.g., INSPEC or Science Direct for engineering information, ABI/Inform or Business Source Complete for business and management, Journal@Ovid or Medline for medical information.

STEP 2 - Refer to user guide for more search tips

For special databases, there are usually a hyperlink to the user guide on the description page. The guide tells you the basics: how to start, how to search, how to print. In addition, online help is usually available within each database.

OPTION 2: Extended Search from OneSearch

– Select Extended Search from OneSearch

STEP 2 – Enter keyword(s) and select a subject from the drop-down menu

Finding a Specific Article

Select Articles on OneSearch, and type the article title inside "quotation marks"

What to Do When Full-text Hyperlink is Not Available

OPTION 1: Make use of the “PolyU eLinks” function

Even if some databases do not provide full-text links, you should see this icon inside a typical record:   

This “PolyU eLinks” is an automatic device that matches if another library resource(s) can supply the full-text. Once you click on “PolyU eLinks”, a new browser will pop up.

For example, an electronic copy is available from this source. Simply click on this link and your browser will take you to the appropriate website where you can download a copy.

OPTION 2: When full-text link is not available at all, check if the Library holds a printed version

Click on this link to check the local holdings of PolyU Library.


Another browser will pop up and show you the local holdings together with the “Location” and “call number”. If Location=“Serials Coll”, get the printed copy according to the call number. Some older bound volumes, if marked “Remote Store”, are available upon request.


OPTION 3: Make an interlibrary loan request if necessary

Occasionally, if a journal is not at all available in the Library, undergraduate and postgraduate students may request document delivery service on a quota basis. Please see this link for more details.