Search the Libraries for books, journals, articles, media and more.

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Look Up Articles, Pay $0.00

You found an article but it says you have to pay for it. Do this instead:

If it doesn't show up, THAT'S OK. Interlibrary Loan will get the paper for you. Click the link below, choose the article form, and fill out all the article information. They'll email you the PDF! For FREE!!!

Scientific magazines

Look up your topic in these professional magazines...
  • Elements from the Geochemical Society
  • EOS from the American Geophysical Union
  • Geology Today from the Geologists' Association and the Geological Society of London
  • BAMS from the American Meteorological Society (or view and search open access articles)
  • Archeology Magazine from the Archeological Institute of America

UMN Library Databases

Look up your topic in these databases. You'll find books, articles, and reports that match your search terms. Use these instead of random Googling.


You can also look up your topic in these major journals...

Basics of library research

Get as close to a primary source as possible.

Start with a news article or a Wikipedia page. Go to the original study if it's linked. Or look up the author who wrote it, if they're a scientist or scholar.

What counts as a primary source?

  • New research in a reputable journal
  • Government documents
  • Periodicals
  • Statistical data
  • Research reports
  • Correspondence
  • Interviews

If you can't find an original source, look for a secondary source -- an authoritative analysis of a primary source.

  • Scholarly analysis
  • Textbooks
  • Dissertations
  • Review articles
  • Biographies
  • Dictionaries

Don't stop until you get to a source by an EXPERT IN THE FIELD. 

  • Look up words, phrases, or concepts you don't know.
  • Find more information about the authors of the sources. Is it written by someone who does research in that field? What is their field/department? Is it written by a science writer, aka a journalist who reports on research?

Charlotte Moore, a science communicator, summed up this process nicely:
How do I learn things? Pt. 1 by @cavatica on TikTok, 2020-11-30

How do I learn things? Pt. 2 by @cavatica on TikTok, 2020-12-01

How to read and understand scientific articles

Last Updated: Feb 18, 2021 12:20 AM