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Philosophy and Religious Studies

Where to Look

For your ESU courses you might be working on several types of projects.  What this means is that there are a wide range of databases that Kemp has available for you to use, depending on your project's focus.

When looking for articles these Kemp Library databases are usually the first place to look for articles. Depending on your topic, these may not be the only ones that can help you. 

For example, you can also browse the Library of Congress' databases based on topics/subjects. 

Use the Search Strategy tab for finding books, articles, etc.

A full list of the databases we subscribe to. You can also sort by broad subject (we divided them for you by major) or type of database (like if you know you need newspapers, ebooks, or statistics).

When in doubt about where to begin try Academic Search Ultimate, or any of the below interdisciplinary databases:

In Ebsco you can select multiple databases. 

1. Looking below, hit the blue Choose Databases next to Academic Search Ultimate:

Screenshot of choosing databases in EBSCO

2. On the pop up, you can select all, or select individual databases.  Below you can see 3 databases selected. You can also "select all" or hover over the yellow bubble for a summary of the database's content.

Screenshot of choosing databases

3. Now you're searching multiple databases! This means you don't have to repeat your search in each database individually. 

Screenshot of EBSCO selected databases

Google Scholar Search

Databases have more sophisticated search features than Google Scholar, but if you have a one or two word topic Google Scholar can be useful.  

However, if you're having trouble finding something specific, try Google Scholar. For example you want "Game of Thrones and Graffiti" and you don't see it in a database, search the title of the article in Google Scholar (here you'd search "Game of Thrones and Graffiti"). 

If we don't have it and you can't access it on Google Scholar, you can always request it via interlibrary loan (see the "We Don't Have It?" tab).

If you find an article that you want to see if we have access to, you would look at the citation and lookup the journal.   Here you would search for IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, and if you find it in our holdings you would locate the volume (35, number 3) and look at pages 6-18.

Sample citation: Jesiek, Brent K. 2013. "The Origins and Early History of Computer Engineering in the United States." IEEE Annals Of The History Of Computing 35, no. 3: 6-18.

  • Author: Jesiek, Brent K,
  • Article Title: The Origins and Early History of Computer Engineering in the United States
  • Journal Title: IEEE Annals Of The History Of Computing
  • Volume: 35
  • Issue/Number: 3
  • Year of Publication: 2013
  • Pages: 6-18

Search for Journal Titles in Primo.  You can also search the journal title or ISSN number in Ulrich's database, then click on the journal. This will take you to an item record for the journal, go to the list of green arrows and select "Online Availability" so it drops down - this shows you what databases the journal can be found in, in full text. Compare this to Kemp Library's A to Z Database list and you'll know if you have full text access!

There is no direct, comprehensive way to search by article title in our print collection or in our electronic collection (unless you know which database your article is located in - then you can search by article title).  Find the Journal Title your article appears in, and search this title in Primo.  This is a much faster and more efficient way for your to search for your article.

Pro Tip: Try searching for the article in Google Scholar by article title to see if it's available for free somewhere. 


A great way to find the top journals in your subject is to go to SCImago Journal and Country Rank and to look at the journals that are the top in your subject area. 

Go here and then look at "All Subject Areas" OR "All Subject Categories" (don't do both) and pick the broad subject (like linguistics, sociology, classics, nurse assisting, etc. to see top journals in the field.

If you want journals you can instantly access, hit the box "display only Open Access Journals" right under the drop down menus.

Example with  subject category Archeology (arts and humanities) and display only Open Access Journals:

How to Read a Journal Article

Reading these sections of an article/book will help you determine if the item you're looking at is relevant to your research. The title, abstract and discussion/conclusion are usually all you really need to read from an article to see if you can use it. 

  • Abstract: This is a summary of the article/item and will give you a good idea if it will be of use. This is the only part that will be in the item record and in the article. 
  • Introduction: This will tell you the history of the topic and the goal(s) of what you’re reading.
  • Literature Review: Summary of similar or previous research on the topic. *May not be included.
  • Methodology: How did they approach the topic/their research? *May not be included.
  • Results: Lists and discusses what the research discovered. *May not be included. 
  • Discussion/Conclusion: The results of what they found and their implications.

1. This is actually a fantastic article on different types of articles, the parts of an article, and how to reach and interpret each part. 

2. All of this may not apply but here are some tips from HuffPost and Stanford

3. Tips and tricks on how to break down and read articles from the graduate program at Penn State.


Really what you should know is this:

  • Start with the title and the abstract (summary) - if one/both of these don't sound useful move on. If they do sound useful, read the conclusions next. 
  • Scan/skim an article before you read it - articles aren't like book, you don't have to read it in order, or necessarily all of it. What information are you looking for? What parts will help you get what you need? 
  • If you need more sources, check out the literature review 
  • IF YOU ARE READING THIS FOR CLASS: take notes on what you do and don't understand. It's fine to not understand everything - that's why you're in class. Take notes and ask your professor later. For example, I found the methodology unclear because of blah blah. Or I found this sentence confusing and couldn't figure out what the author meant. If possible, try to make an educated guess on what they were trying to do based on the rest of the article - like: I think the methodology was this due to these other factors but I'm not sure. Can you clarify? Basically, show that you read the article and either did understand it, or made your best effort too. Some articles are unclear. Your opinion is valid. 

Both of these videos discuss what articles are, and different ways/strategies to take notes. There are MANY more! There is no one right way to take notes or read an article. These are just background and to give you ideas if you're completely stuck.