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PolyU Library

Find Journal Articles

Contact Your Faculty Librarian

Faculty Librarians are designated librarians for your faculty, who can offer specialized help on your course assignment and research project. Make an appointment with your Faculty Librarian for in-depth assistance!

Serials Collection in PolyU Library

PolyU Library provides access to a sizeable serials collection, both in print and electronic formats. The collection include:

  • 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. Most scholarly publications are peer-reviewed which means that their articles have gone through a critique and approval processes by the subject experts before publication. To know whether a journal is peer-reviewed, refer to the tips at Check whether the journal is peer-reviewed.

You can find a journal article in the following ways:

  • Using OneSearch - the library catelogue that search through all library resources
  • Using Google Scholar
  • Using an Article Database subscribed by the library
  • Request an article through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services - for articles that are not available in our collection

Scholarly Journals vs Popular Magazines

Scholarly Journals and Popular Magazines are two major types of periodicals that you will encounter when doing your research assignment. Understanding the characteristics and differences between the two will help you evaluate and select suitable resources for your works! Read the infographic to learn what these two types of materials are and how to use them appropriately. 

Find Articles

OneSearch is a one-stop search of local and remote resources Library has, most of them being scholarly materials. 

Follow the steps below to find an article in OneSearch:

  1. Visit Library homepage, click on the embedded search box, or directly visit OneSearch.
  2. Type in your keywords or title of the article and hit the search button.
  3. Limit results to "Articles" under Resource Type on the right panel of the page. You may further refine results to "Peer-reviewed Journals", or within a publication year range.
  4. Click on the article title to see more information about the article.
  5. Under "View It Online", you will find options for full text download.
    Remember to sign in with your NetID and NetPassword to get access to the full text.

Click to see steps in screenshots

To search articles in Google Scholar, we suggest that you access Google Scholar via the Library homepage, especially when you are out of campus. By doing this you will be able to directly access the full text of the articles (we subscribed to) through PolyU eLinks.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Visit Library homepage, switch to "Articles" and then click on Google Scholar@PolyU. Sign in with your NetID and NetPassword if you are out of campus.
  2. Conduct a search in Google Scholar. The article within our collection will be provided with the "PolyU eLinks" option. Click to get the full text PDF for free.

Click to see steps in screenshots

Google Scholar setting - link with PolyU Library

You may also change the setting in your Google Scholar to link it up with Library subscribed databases. This is identical to clicking on Google Scholar@PolyU via Library homepage.

Click to see steps in screenshots

Search in a database

Searching within a database helps you narrow your search as the coverage of the database can be very selective. Some databases focus on one specific area, which can help you filter out the contents that are not relevant to the subject; some may cover peer-reviewed journals only, to ensure the articles covered are of certain quality. Almost all databases will provide an Advanced Search option, which allows you to search in a more precise way, e.g. search within article title, journal title, or subject terms (that are tagged to each article). This helps you find the most relevant results quickly and effectively. 

Search in a citation database

Web of Science and Scopus are two large multidisciplinary citation databases. They do not provide full-text articles, but they are very helpful for exploring related articles by looking at citing articles (who cited the article) and references (who have been cited by the article). If you do not have an idea which databases or journals should go for, start with these two.

Follow the steps below to find an article in one specific database:

  1. Visit Library homepage, switch to "Databases" and then search the database by name, or browse databases by subject.
  2. Search for the name of the database, or browse from A-Z. In this example, we search for "Scopus". Note that some databases require you to sign in with your NetID and NetPassword when you are out of campus.
  3. Click on Online Access to get in.
  4. You may now start your search by typing in your keywords. You may also search in a specific field, e.g. search by article title, keywords, source title (journal title), etc. The fields offered vary depending on the databases. 
  5. Most databases allow to refine search results by Year, Author, Subject Area, Document Type, etc. or sort results by Relevance, Date of publication, Citation counts, etc. These all help you quickly locate the articles you desire. 

  6. To find the full-text PDF, click on PolyU eLinks. This will link you to the options where full-text is available. 

Do refer to the Search Tips below to learn some techniques in building your search queries.

Click to see steps in screenshots

Full text not available? Try ILL.

Request a copy by filling up a form via our InterLibrary Loan (ILL) service. Alternatively, you may follow the steps below to place a request while you are searching.

  1. When you see no results found after a search in OneSearch, first try to check v Expand Results beyond PolyU Library. This may help you get a record of the article you are looking for.
  2. Click on the article record, and sign in with your NetID and NetPassword. Then click on "InterLibrary Loan".
  3. Click on Logon to ILLiad.
  4. The details of this article have been pre-filled automatically. Click Submit Request to place the request. Normally you will receive an email notification to download the copy within a couple of days.

Click to see steps in screenshots

Search Tips

Boolean Operators (AND, OR and NOT)

  • AND combines search terms so that each result contains all of the terms. AND narrows your search.
    e.g.: youth AND drug finds articles that contain both youth and drug.

  • OR combines search terms so that each result contains at least one of the terms. OR is often used to connect synonyms or similar concepts. OR broadens your search.
    e.g.: youth OR teenager finds articles that contain either youth or teenager or both.

  • NOT excludes terms so that each result does not contain the term that follows it. NOT narrows your search.
    e.g.: drug NOT alcohol finds articles that contain drug but exclude alcohol.

Search Order of Boolean Operators

NOT AND > OR (in most databases, including OneSearch); Use parentheses () if you need to override the order. 

 youth OR teenager AND drug finds articles that contain either youth (only), or teenager and drug (both words are present);
(youth OR teenager) AND drug finds articles that contain either youth and drug (both words are present) or teenager and drug (both words are present).

Truncations & Wildcards

  • Truncations (*) and wildcards (?, #) are used to broaden your search.
  • e.g.:
    comput* searches computer, computers, computing
    colo?r searches color, colour
  • ‚ÄčTruncation and wildcard symbols may vary by database. Check the Help page in the database to learn the symbols and operators that database supports. (or, google database name + "operator" to locate the search help page directly)

Exact Phrase searching with quotation marks ""

  • Quotation marks "" are used to search an exact phrase. They narrow down your search results.
  • e.g.:
    "knowledge sharing" searches only the phrase knowledge sharing and will NOT search knowledge creation and sharing (additional words in between) or knowledge shared
  • Usually quotation marks cannot be used with truncation or wildcards. e.g.: "knowledge shar*"
Use truncations or wildcards when you need more results; use quotation marks when you need less and more precise results.
An example to give you an expression of the number of results retrieved when using different symbols. (in OneSearch, as of 2 Aug 2017)

Keyword searching vs. Subject Heading searching

  • Keywords are natural language words or phrases that describe the search topic. Keyword searching looks for the keyword terms in any field of the record (if not specified) in a database.
  • Subject headings are a group of "controlled vocabularies" that describe the content of each item in a database. These controlled vocabularies are usually given by subject specialists or indexers. Subject heading searching looks for the subject heading terms in the subject heading field of the record in a database.
    The field name may vary by database or platform. e.g.: in OneSearch, it's called "Subject"; in EBSCOhost, it's called "Subject Terms".
  • Subject headings are extensively used for searching biomedical literature. Medline uses MeSH, which stands for Medical Subject Headings. Embase uses Emtree. Both MeSH and Emtree allow using subheadings to narrow to one aspect of the subject.


  • Subject heading searching helps you find articles by "meaning".
    e.g.: search "knowledge management" by Subject returns results that may not contain the phrase "knowledge management" but discuss organizational learning (which is a related subject to knowledge management).
  • Some databases can recommend subject headings when you do a keyword searching. After that you may select appropriate subject headings to search again.
    e.g.: EBSCOhost uses "Suggest Subject Terms"; Medline (via EbscoHost) uses "Map Terms to Subject Heading".