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Finding an Article From a Citation

How to find an article when you have its citation.

Parts of a Citation

To find an article, we need to know a little about citations. Article citations are separated into components:

  1. The author name
  2. The article title
  3. The journal that published the article
  4. The volume and issue of the journal where you can find the article
  5. The year of publication
  6. The page numbers
  7. In some cases, the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) or permalink – this is a link to the article on the internet that won’t break over time

These elements are present in almost all article citations, regardless of style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc). You can use them as indicators to show you the most direct path to the article you want to read.

Citation Example

In the article given to me by my professor, the citation elements look like this:

(1) Denning, Jeffrey T. (2) “College on the Cheap: Consequences of Community College Tuition Reductions.” (3) American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, (4) vol. 9, no. 2, (5) 2017, (6) pp. 155–188.

Notice that my professor didn’t give the DOI for the article – they want me to find it with my amazing library searching skills.

What steps do I take now? Let's use these elements to find this journal from the eJournals page.