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How Do I Access Journal Articles?

Okay, this isn't the normal sort of Q&A that we'll be doing, but I wasn't sure how to categorize this one and technically it is a question you may have, so I've labelled it as such.

One thing that I felt compelled to do in my previous entries is include a handful of citations for relevant journal articles and/or book chapters. I suppose you can't beat the teacher and researcher out of me; it's just second nature. My guess is that other contributors will also provide references with their entries.

So maybe you, the reader, are interested in learning more about the particular topic that we've written about and actually want to read one or more of the papers we've cited. Good for you! But you may wonder how to get your hands on those articles. For those who haven't accessed journal articles before, I thought it might be useful for me to give some tips: 

  • As much as we'd like to, for copyright reasons, we can't post PDFs of these papers for you. I wish I could, but we're a low-budget operation and can't afford to keep an intellectual property lawyer on staff.
  • If you're a college student or are affiliated with a university or some other scholarly institution, you probably have access to PsycInfo (the main database of psychology papers) through your library's website. Usually PsycInfo is tied into your library's holdings, such that when you search for a paper, the results will tell you if your institution has that journal/paper. If you're lucky, they have it electronically and you can just click for instant access. However, you might have to go old school and walk yourself down to the stacks in your library. Don't worry, it's really not that scary down there.
  • If your library doesn't have that particular journal/article/book in its collection, see if they can do Inter-Library Loan. Most libraries have arrangements with other libraries to exchange resources.
  • Another option is to Google/Bing/Yahoo etc search for the article. Sometimes you'll find that someone has posted a PDF of the article online (i.e., they aren't such the copyright cowards that we are).
  • If you can figure out who the primary researcher is for the work (note that this isn't always the first author, but often it is), see if you can find their webpage online. Oftentimes academics will post their papers there for you to download.
  • If you can't find the paper online, if all else fails, email the author and ask for a copy of the paper. Obviously their time is valuable and you shouldn't bug them needlessly, but most researchers are happy just to know that someone is interested in their work and will send a copy of the paper if they can.

Maybe in a future post we'll give some tips on how to actually digest and interpret everything that is thrown at the reader in a journal article. Wading through all those statistics can be intimidating :-)

Happy reading!

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Dr. Benjamin Le - Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Le's research focuses on commitment, including the factors associated with commitment and its role in promoting maintenance. He has published on the topics of breakup, geographic separation, infidelity, social networks, cognition, and need fulfillment and emotions in relationships.

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