How to find a scholarly article?

Finding relevant reference materials for one’s study, research, publications or other forms of academic activities is an everyday challenge for all academicians. Today the worldwide web allows us to access the world which is no more limited to one’s institute’s library. Here are some easy tips on how to search for relevant content.

Keywords: any web-based searched hinges on keywords and tags. It is very important to use the proper keywords for one’s search. Generic overall terms for search often fail to do justice. One must be aware of the latest terminologies, acronyms as keywords.

One needs to understand search algorithms to better use keywords. Many search algorithms are additive; you can use keyword1 AND keyword2 (often used as keyword1 + keyword2) to suggest you are looking for articles that have both of the keywords. For instance, using an author’s name AND a topic of interest suggests you are looking for articles by the specific author on the specific topic and will yield more narrowed or focused options. Using a series of keywords separated by commas often means you are looking for articles that have either of those terms or a combination of these terms.

Database: intrinsically linked to using keywords is understanding the database in which you are searching. Different institutions, libraries, or journals have a dedicated database section where they show the relevant tags or sections according to which their contents are stored. Understanding the referencing mechanism of any database is important to effectively search those databases. For instance, some databases may use the author’s name as the top line tag while others may use the field of study as a top line. Searching via keywords in these cases work best when you use the topline as the first keyword and then use the other terms to dive deep into these top-line categories.

Some of the most common digital repositories or websites for scholarly articles in the field of science are:

PubMed: PubMed is a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. The United States National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health maintains the database as part of the Entrez system of information retrieval.

ScienceDirect: ScienceDirect is a website that provides subscription-based access to a large database of scientific and medical research. It hosts over 12 million pieces of content from 3,500 academic journals and 34,000 e-books.

Web Of Science: Web Of Science is a website that provides subscription-based access to multiple databases that provide comprehensive citation data for many different academic disciplines. It was originally produced by the Institute for Scientific Information and is currently maintained by Clarivate Analytics.

While some of these resources are free to access, many are subscription-based. However, these websites offer the best peer-reviewed articles from the top most journals and hence the subscription is worth the money. However, in many cases the institutions take subscriptions, and hence an individual does not need to. Do check with the library of your institution on how to access these databases.

Tips to enhance the visibility of your article

Writing an effective title
Writing an effective title
From the perspective of a search engine, the title is the most important part of a research paper. The search engine recognises the title as inclusive of all important words related to the topic. Thus, you need to choose the words of your title very carefully. Besides, the title is important from the perspective of the reader because it tells the reader whether the topic is relevant or not.
While conceiving the title of your paper, you need to keep the following principles in mind:

• Encapsulate the content and communicate its scope.
• Include words that are generally submitted to search engines when a user is looking up your topic or one similar to yours.
• Focus on words or phrases that occur frequently in your text and describe the content extensively.
• Use short and attractive titles to be more effective.
Hence, a good title should ideally be of 10-12 words containing descriptive words or phrases that accurately describe the core content of your paper.

Writing an effective abstract
The abstract gives a sneak peek into the full text of your paper. It conveys to the reader the basic idea about the content of the paper. Usually, the abstract is free to access and can be viewed by anyone. Therefore, it gives readers the chance to first understand the gist of your paper and then decide whether they want to continue reading or purchase a full copy of the paper. In a sense, the abstract is a marketing document for the full paper.
If you have submitted your paper for publication, the abstract assumes an even greater importance. Since it is the first section of the paper that journal editors and reviewers read, it plays a crucial role in the acceptance of the paper for publication. Sometimes the journal editors are very busy and prefer going through the abstract to determine whether the paper should be sent for peer review or rejected outright. Thus, reviewers form their first impressions about the paper from the abstract.
The abstract should be written in a way that captures the reader’s interest and attention and engages their mental abilities. It should give a brief overview of the main content.
The abstract should basically contain answers to the following questions:
• What is the objective or purpose?
• What is your methodology for accomplishing the objective?
• What are the findings or results?
• What are the implications for future research?
All these points are sequential and need to follow one another in the same order.

How to use keywords effectively
Keywords are used to classify papers by journals and search engines. Therefore, the visibility of your paper to the target group depends greatly on the keywords. An accurate list of keywords will ensure a higher citation count for the paper.
Words and phrases that occur repetitively in the main text and describe the content comprehensively should be among your keywords. Besides, you could also use some other words that are related to the topic and could potentially increase the visibility of your paper.