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Masters of Public Administration 7000 Class Guide Tools and Foundations – Library Resources

MPA 7000: Research Methods - Searching Tips

You can use these searching tips for your other classes too.

  • Article databases and the catalog don't do natural language searching as well as Google, so break your topic into the main keywords or concepts.  For example, if your topic is the role of food pantries in a community, don't type "what was the role of food pantries in the community" in the search box.  Instead, type in "food pantries" AND communities or something similarly structured.
  • Try to think of as many different ways to describe your topic as you can.
  • When you find a good article, look at their footnotes or endnotes to see what articles the author read--you might find a few good ones that you can use.  See box below for how to find articles when you have a citation. 
  • Use truncation to expand your search results, for example, if you type in "polit*" it will capture politics, political, politicize, etc.  Some databases do this automatically, but many do not. 
  • Click on linked author names, subject headings, or any other descriptive terms in book and article descriptions.

Articles: best bets

There is no "perfect" source or article database.  If possible, try your searches in each article database.  You may only get one or two resources from some but they may be a resource you can use in your paper.  Remember to "remove and replace" keywords --  recombine various terms or subjects.  And remember to use synonyms for your search terms whenever possible!

Evaluating Journals

Finding the full text of an article when you have the citation

How would you find the full text for the following citation?  This happens most frequently when you look in the footnotes or bibliography of an article--this is a great way to find primary sources on your topic as well.

Ginsburg, Zoë A., et al. "Unreliable and Difficult-to-Access Food for those in Need: A Qualitative and Quantitative Study of Urban Food Pantries." Journal of Community Health 44, no. 1 (February 2019): 16-31.

Method 1

  1. Go to the Library's EJournals Publications search.
  2. From the search box, type in the title of the journal (Journal of Community Health).
  3. Do not type your article title in the box.
  4. If WSU owns the rights to the journal, see if we have the year, volume, and issue number you need.
  5. If WSU doesn’t have the journal you want or doesn’t have the year/volume/issue you need, use Interlibrary Loan.

Method 2

  1. From the home page of the University Libraries, use the Quick Search box.
  2. In quotations, type in the title of your article ("Unreliable and Difficult-to-Access Food for those in Need: A Qualitative and Quantitative Study of Urban Food Pantries.")
  3. In the results, if the article is available, you will see either the citation or a link out to the full-text
  4. If you do not see a full-text link out, be sure to select the yellow "Find-It" button.  You may find a full-text link to either another service we subscribe to or a link to InterLibrary Loan.


If you need to search for books, there are three options at your disposal: the University Libraries, OhioLINK and WorldCAT catalogs.  If you're having trouble finding a book's availability, be sure to contact me.

You find books in catalogs or databases. You can begin with the Wright State catalog. If you're having trouble finding books on your topic in the Wright State University catalog, try using the OhioLINK catalog. If you're searching in the OhioLINK catalog, remember to look under Library Holdings to see if Wright State owns the book before you request it.

You can also find books in a database called WorldCat. WorldCat has all the stuff--books, journals, archives, sound recordings and more!--from most university libraries in the US and others around the world. If you're looking for a book, be sure to put a check here:
worldcat books

When you get your list of results, check to see if the book is in the Wright State library (the green symbol will be there); if you want to see if it's in OhioLINK or if you can request it via Interlibrary Loan, click the "Find It" link.

worldcat request

You will see your options here (click the Find It! button to see if it's in OhioLINK):
worldcat options

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