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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ESL Graduate Student Guide

A guide to the University Library for English as a Second Language graduate students.

Step 1: Finding a Database

You have a research topic and now you need a relevant database to search. How do you find one?

  • The find articles guide lists core databases by subject.
  • Use one of the subject specific guides created by librarians to help you find a database or specific journal title. Browse by subject area on the left side of the screen, or enter the subject you're looking for into the search box. 
Things to keep in mind when searching a database:
  • As an Illinois student or faculty member you can access these resources from computers on-campus or from off-campus by logging in with your NetID and password.
  • If one database isn't giving you the results you want, try a different database. 

Step 2: Searching for Full Text Online

If you can't find the full text of an article in a database, you can use the Online Journals and Databases page to search for the journal title.

Most recent articles are available in full text, which means that you can view the entire article from your computer. You can email, print or save these articles for your research. For some articles, especially older ones, you will only be provided with a citation and an abstract. 


Step 3: Finding Articles in Print

Not every article is available in online. If you verify that an article you need is not available in full text online, your next step is to search whether the library owns it in print. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Keep your citation (name of journal, volume, and issue) handy so you can search the online library catalog for the location of the print journal. You can enter the name of the journal directly into the search box.
  • Look to see which departmental library holds the issue or volume that you need. Write down the location and call number. 
  • Visit the departmental library where the journal is located. There you can also make a scan of the article so you can view it later.

Step 4: Interlibrary Loan Articles

If your article is not available in full text online or in print, you can request the article through Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery. Click on the link that says Login to my ILLiad account, and enter your NetID and password. Choose "Request a photocopy" and fill out the entire form, including the source of the citation.

This process typically takes around 3 business days. Interlibrary Loan usually sends the article as a .pdf file to your email address.

Finding Articles in Other Languages

How do you find articles in a language other than English?

If you are on the search page of an online database, look for an option to "limit your results." Depending on the database, you may have to click the Advanced Search link to see this option. There will often be an option to limit your results to a specific language.

Depending on the database, the option may be to "filter," "refine," or "narrow" your results (different databases will use different terms for this) to a specific language.