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Speech: Interpersonal Communication: Find Scholarly Articles

This course guide for SP181 will assist students in finding available library resources in print and online.

Find Articles: Research Databases

For the best success start with a library database or use library e-resources in conjunction with Google Scholar.

Keywords vs. Subject Terms

What's the difference between using KEYWORDS and SUBJECT TERMS?

Choosing the right words when searching can help or hinder the quality and quantity of results you get. Be flexible with the terminology you use.

  • Keyword searching uses natural (familiar) language; it’s a good way to begin your search; more flexible, yet sometimes search results are irrelevant
    [Examples: car, baby, doctor, dog]
  • Subject searching uses a “controlled vocabulary”…very standardized terminology; it looks for your search terms only in specialized fields; less flexible, however more results are relevant to your topic
    [Examples: automobile, infant, physician, canine]

What is a library database? [01:56]

This video is courtesy of RMIT University - Melbourne, Australia. If video does not load in player, please click this link.

Popular Magazines vs. Scholarly Journals

Its purpose is to inform or entertain Its aim is to report on scholarly research
Articles typically short in length Longer articles with in-depth analysis
Written by a reporter, journalist, or staff writer Written by a scholarly expert or specialist (credentials provided)
Articles are reviewed by editorial staff Articles are peer-reviewed & critically evaluated by scholars
Little or no references are included as support Sources are always cited in a formal bibliography
Slick & attractive in appearance with advertisements & glossy photos Very structured format: abstract, methodology, literature review, results, conclusion. No frills.
Examples: People, National Geographic, Reader's Digest Examples: Young Children, New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard Business Review

Google Scholar [00:56]

What is Google Scholar and how can it help me find academic journal articles?

-- "Google Scholar provides a simple way to BROADLY search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites."

Content coverage in Google Scholar appears strong in the science and technology subjects, and weak in the humanities.

Students should be aware that Google Scholar provides very limited access to full text articles from specific disciplines. If you only find a citation (or abstract) for the article you are interested in, you can search one of the library's databases for the full text using the citation information you found.

And if your article is not available from any HCC library database, see a Reference Librarian to find out if it can be obtained from the UH Manoa's Hamilton Library. Students are encouraged to make use of resources (electronic & print) offered primarily through Honolulu Community College's library.

If video does not load in player, please click this link.

Honolulu Community College Library
874 Dillingham Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96817
Email: Web:
We only accept suggested resources from members of the HonCC community.