How do I find an article if I have the citation?

Watch this two-minute video that shows you how to find an article if you already have the citation. Or, scroll down to read instructions.

Sometimes you will have the citation for an article, whether you found it in the bibliography of another book or article, or a classmate or professor gave it to you.  How to you find the full text of the article with this information?

Let’s use this example of a journal article. There are several pieces of information that we can gather from the citation:

Pilotte, C., Reed, E. T., Rodrigue, J., & Giroux, J. (2014). Factors influencing the survival of Canada geese breeding in Southern Quebec. Journal of Wildlife Management, 78(2), 231-239. 

  1. Locate the journal.
    1. We determined from the citation that the article is from the Journal of Wildlife Management. Select the Journals tab on the library’s homepage, and type in the journal title.
    2. The next page will show you if the journal is available through the library. If it is not, you will need to request the article through Interlibrary Loan. Articles arrive within 2-5 business days with this method. 


  1. Identify the publication date to select the correct coverage
    1. The Journal of Wildlife Management is available through the library, and there are several ways to access it. It is available in several online databases with specific date ranges, and it is also available in print in another date range. You will need to find the publication date to determine which of these links will provide access to the article.
    2. The article was published in 2014. Therefore, we will need to select the last option, Environment Complete, which provides access up to six months ago.
    3. Click on Environment Complete to access this database. 


  1. Locate the full text of the article
    1. Once in Environment Complete, you can browse the correct volume and issue number by selecting the appropriate publication year, or you can search within the journal for the article title.
    2. Click on Search Within and put in the article title. It is easiest to copy and paste.
    3. When presented with your article, locate the full text in either PDF or HTML. 

Still need help? Ask a librarian.